Motor Vehicle Fuel Efficiency

Gas Costs: 10 Ways to Save Memorial Day Weekend and Throughout the Summer

At $4.59 a Gallon, Gas Prices are Up 52% From a Year Ago

Washington D.C. —  As nearly 35 million travelers[1] take to the road this Memorial Day weekend, 70% of Americans said their summer travel plans have been affected by high gas prices.[2] Potential car shoppers should keep this in mind, prioritizing fuel economy when making their choice. Now is as good a time as ever to fine-tune your driving strategies and techniques to maximize your fuel economy and ease the squeeze on your wallet. CFA estimates that if Americans practiced these tips, gas mileage could be improved (in total) by about 13%. “Following these tips will be like paying $3.99 per gallon at today’s average of $4.59,” said Richard Eckman, an Energy Advocate at CFA.[3] “With the Memorial Day kick-off of the summer driving season, there’s no reason consumers should pay for gas they don’t need,” said Eckman.

10 Tips for Saving At the Gas Pump

  1. Check Online: Apps and websites such as GasBuddy, Upside, or Fuelio can show local gas prices, making it easy to find good prices in your area or if you are traveling. Generally, gas stations well off major highways and away from city centers tend to have better prices, as do warehouse stores and some major travel centers.
  2. Drive Smoother: The smoother you accelerate and decelerate, the better your gas mileage, with potential gas savings of 2-3 mpg. Once up to the desired speed, don’t unnecessarily brake and waste the fuel used to get up to speed. Drive smoothly and anticipate the movement of traffic. Smooth acceleration, cornering, and braking also extend the life of the engine, transmission, brakes, and tires.
  3. Slow it Down: For every 5 mph you reduce highway speed, you can reduce fuel consumption by 7%. If you typically drive 70 mph on the highway and slow down to 65 mph, it’s the equivalent of saving 6-7 mpg.
  4. Keep the Vehicle Aerodynamic: Remove an unused roof rack, tail-hitch rack, and a rooftop box. At highway speeds, more than 50 percent of engine power goes to overcoming aerodynamic drag. Don’t add to that by carrying unneeded things on the roof, it’s the equivalent of saving 6-10 mpg.
  5. Pumping ’em Up: More than one-quarter of vehicles have improperly inflated tires. The average under-inflation of 7.5 lbs. causes a loss of 2.8% in fuel efficiency.
  6. Ditch the Weight: For every 100 extra pounds carried around, your vehicle loses 1-2% in fuel efficiency.
  7. Use the Correct Oil: You can stretch your gas mileage by 1%-2% by using the thinnest viscosity motor oil recommended by your car’s manufacturer. For example, adding 10W-30 motor oil in an engine that is designed to use 5W-30 can lessen your gas mileage by 1%-2%.
  8. Keep the Vehicle Off: If stopped off the road for more than 30 seconds, turn off the engine. Don’t “warm-up” your car before driving — it is not necessary. For every two minutes that you don’t idle, you’ll save the equivalent of nearly 4 cents per gallon.
  9. Check the Cap: It is estimated that nearly 17% of cars on the road have broken or missing gas caps, which reduce gas mileage as well as possibly harming the environment. Fixing or replacing a faulty gas cap is like saving 4 cents per gallon.
  10. Skip the Premium: Save money and skip premium gas unless it is “required.” This is indicated on the fuel filler door. Many cars list “recommended,” which means it is optional. If there is only midgrade or premium fuel available, this will work fine in a car that is rated for regular gasoline.

[1] Based on projections by AAA,

[2] Based on GasBuddy’s Annual Summer Travel Survey.

[3] Savings based on May 25, 2022 regular gas price of  $4.59.

Contact: Richard Eckman, 202-939-1013