There are numerous no- or low-cost steps you can take to combat rising gas prices:
• The most important place to start is at the gas pump: Buy only the lowest octane-level gas recommended for your car.
• Stay within posted speed limits. The faster you drive, the more fuel you use.
• Use overdrive gears. Overdrive gears improve the fuel economy of your car during highway driving. Your car's engine speed decreases when you use overdrive. This reduces both fuel consumption and engine wear.
• Use cruise control. Using cruise control on highway trips can help you maintain a constant speed, and in most cases, reduce your fuel consumption.
• Anticipate driving situations. If you anticipate traffic conditions and don't tailgate, you can avoid unnecessary braking and acceleration and improve your fuel economy by 5 to 10 percent.
• Avoid unnecessary idling. Turn off the engine if you anticipate a lengthy wait.
• Combine errands. Several short trips taken from a cold start can use twice as much fuel as one trip covering the same distance when the engine is warm.
• Remove excess weight from the trunk. Avoid carrying unneeded items, especially heavy ones. An extra 100 pounds in the trunk reduces a typical car's fuel economy by one to two percent.
• Keep your engine tuned. Studies have shown that a poorly tuned engine can increase fuel consumption by as much as 10 to 20 percent depending on a car's condition.
• Keep your tires properly inflated and aligned. Underinflated tires cause fuel consumption to increase by 6 percent.
• Change your oil. Clean oil reduces wear caused by friction between moving parts and removes harmful substances from the engine.
• Check and replace air filters regularly. Clogged filters can cause up to a 10 percent increase in fuel consumption.
Source: Federal Trade Commission