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Conserve fuel with vehicle maintenance and other tips

FALLBROOK – Motorists know that 2022 has been a record-breaking year for fuel prices. Data from AAA indicates gas prices jumped 55% between June 2021 and June 2022. All 50 states now have an average fuel price that exceeds $4 per gallon, with many even surpassing the $5 mark.

The fuel cost comparison resource Global Petrol Prices reports that, as of May 2022, gas in Canada was on average $2.17 CAD per liter, which comes to roughly $8.22 CAD a gallon, or $6.52 USD per gallon.

The pinch at the pump is being felt by commuters, casual drivers and weekend warriors alike. People across North America are taking whatever steps necessary to conserve fuel. One of the considerations they may have overlooked is vehicle maintenance. Poor vehicle performance adversely affects fuel economy, so here's how to maintain a vehicle with an eye toward conserving fuel.

Proper tire inflation

The U.S. Department of Energy says each decrease in tire pressure by 1 pound per square inch for four tires can decrease fuel economy by 0.2%. By keeping tires properly inflated, the average driver can improve gas mileage by as much as 3%. Drivers can consult their tire manufacturer's specifications for proper tire pressure.

Use recommended motor oil

Engines require the right blend of products to work efficiently. The DOE says drivers can improve gas mileage by 1 to 2 percent simply by using the recommended grade of motor oil. In addition, look for motor oils that list "Energy Conserving" on the label.

Change the air filter

According to AutoZone, an engine's ability to produce power is directly related to its ability to draw air in. A clean air filter assists with that function, whereas a dirty filter will reduce engine power and fuel efficiency.

Get a tune-up

Additional mechanical issues may affect vehicle performance and lead to excessive fuel consumption. A mechanic can run diagnostics on the vehicle and make recommendations on things to repair or replace, such as spark plugs, ignition coils or faulty oxygen sensors.

Treat fuel occasionally

Debris and moisture in the fuel tank can compromise combustion and impact performance. A fuel treatment product can clean out debris and dry up moisture to restore function and improve miles per gallon.

Use the air conditioning sparingly

The air conditioning unit in a vehicle uses power directly from the motor of the car. This means the vehicle consumes extra gas to keep the AC unit running, thereby reducing fuel efficiency.

Remove excess cargo

Clear the trunk or cargo area of extra items that can weigh down the vehicle, requiring more power to move it. Any heavy load will negatively affect mileage.

Keeping a vehicle in top form can improve fuel economy, which can be especially beneficial in a time marked by soaring fuel costs.


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