gas high prices
July 9, 2013
By Shawn Dell Joyce 6:14 pm

Americans drive an average of 10,000 miles per year, per person, which includes non-drivers as well. We do a lot of that driving during the summer on family vacations and chauffeuring kids from place to place. Here are a few simple tips to save you gas and money this summer, as well as reducing carbon emissions.

  • According to the U.S. Department of Energy, several short trips all begun with a cold start can use twice as much fuel as a single, longer trip that covers the same distance. Combining errands can improve your gas mileage because your engine will be warm for more of the trip. It might also mean you travel less total miles. This one simple habit change can save about 20 percent of your fuel and mileage. It also keeps 1,650 pounds of carbon out of the atmosphere and will add up to a savings of about $260 per year.
  • Drive slower, and accelerate and brake less frequently. If you keep it at a steady 55 mph instead of 70 mph or more on the highway, you save up to 20 percent of your fuel costs. According to CNN, every ten miles per hour you drive over sixty is like the price of gasoline going up about fifty-four cents a gallon. The most fuel-efficient range is between 45-55 mph for most vehicles. Accelerating quickly burns twice as much gas as keeping a slow steady speed. Braking quickly is just as bad; you lose all that momentum your car worked so hard to generate.
  • When stuck in traffic, turn off the engine. We can lose up to one third of our fuel by idling. You save 1,200 pounds of carbon or the equivalent of 55 gallons of gas by implementing safer driving. That adds up to $130 per year you could keep in your pocket!
  • Keeping your car in top condition will save you up to 30 percent in fuel efficiency. Dirty spark plugs, air filters or fuel filters will all affect your fuel economy. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, replacing a clogged air filter can increase your mileage by 10 percent, while replacing an oxygen sensor could result in an improvement as high as 40 percent.
  • Check the air in your tires and save up to 3.3 mpg. You can find the proper pressure listed on the jamb of the driver’s side door.
  • Clean out your car! Stop paying for all the extra gas needed to haul that junk around in the back of your car. Cleaning the outside of the car keeps it streamlined and more fuel efficient by reducing drag. Another way to keep the vehicle streamlined is to remove those roof and bike racks when not in use. They add extra weight and drag.

Of course, the best way to save gas and money is to park the car and take the bicycle. More communities across the country are creating bike paths and routes, making bicycle travel easier and safer. Take your bicycle on vacation and enjoy getting around at a slower, healthier pace.


Shawn Dell Joyce is an award-winning columnist and founder of the Wallkill River School in Orange County, N.Y. You can contact her at To find out more about Shawn Dell Joyce and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at COPYRIGHT 2013 CREATORS.COM