(SPM Wire) It’s that time of the year again, when families hit the road for weekend drives to the amusement park, camping trips in the SUV or road tripping vacations to historical destinations or to visit relatives. No matter where you travel — even if it’s only to work or to the local market — soaring gas prices can cost you a bundle this season.

However, there are many clever ways you can conserve gas and keep more green in your wallet. Here are a few helpful tips from gas expert, Scott Cain, Economist and University of Phoenix Business Instructor:

* Use cruise control on highway trips. Cruise control will help eliminate rapid accelerations and hard braking.

* Get back to basics. Make sure to keep your tires properly inflated and stay on top of regular vehicle maintenance. Particularly, special attention should be given to maintaining air filters because diminished air flow increases gas waste.

* Avoid «Jack Rabbit Starts.» When accelerating, start slowly from a dead stop, pushing foot lightly onto the gas pedal. Easing into speed allows your carburetor to function at peak efficiency.

* Slow down! The faster a vehicle travels the more gas it burns.

* Keep windows closed when traveling at high speeds. Open windows cause air drag, reducing your mileage by 10 percent.

* Think thin. Packing light for your next trip can help reduce fuel consumption. Excess weight slows the car down, especially on inclines.

* Travel at the coolest times of the day. Air conditioners reduce fuel economy by 10 to 20 percent. By eliminating as much AC use as possible it will result in higher amounts of gas saved.

* Avoid rough roads. Dirt and gravel rob you of up to 30 percent of your gas mileage.

* Drive at steady speed. Slowing down quickly and speeding up quickly wastes fuel and raises tension levels for other drivers and passengers around you.

* Carpool. Saving money on gas is as easy as planning for your trip so that as many people can travel per car as possible. You can enjoy the company of friends while sharing the cost of fuel.

By following a few smart «tricks of the trade,» you can help keep your car running smoothly and make your gas last longer. This way you can spend your money at your destination, not on getting there!

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