Little Things That Save You Big On Gas - - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

4/4/08- East Texas

Little Things That Save You Big On Gas

Since it's getting more painful at the pump, we took some gas-saving tips to an expert, a physics professor at LeTourneau University. Ever hear it's better to drive with your windows down and the air conditioner on? Apparently, open windows create more resistance.

"Windows down add more air resistance, so that's bad," said Assistant Professor of Physics, Ted Forringer.  "But having the A/C on uses a lot of power so that's bad too. So, the best option is to have the windows up and the A/C off."

Also adding resistance and eating up more gas...

"The big cargo racks that sit on top of the car make a lot of air resistance and they mess up your gas mileage pretty significantly," said Forringer. 

And of course, don't speed. Slow down a little and save a lot.

"A car that gets 30 miles-per-gallon at 60 miles-an-hour will only get 20 miles-per-gallon at 80 miles-an-hour, so it really makes a huge difference," said Forringer.

The temperature also makes a difference and with summer approaching, you could pay more for less. It's because of something called "thermal expansion."

"If you're buying gas that was 110 degrees instead of buying gas that was 68 degrees you would end up paying for 20.4 gallons and only getting 20 gallons," said Forringer.  "I guess 20.4 gallons would cost you $1.50 so that's a noticeable amount of money. But that would be a very big temperature swing in the gas. I think more likely it's still only costing you a few cents a gallon."

Certainly every penny counts, but it may not add up to drive across town for the best price.

"If you save 5 cents a gallon but drive 10 miles to get there, you're probably going to break even."

And of course carpool when you can and make one-stop shopping trips to get more bang for your buck.

 Experts also said some simple car maintenance can make a huge difference. Make sure your tires stay inflated and aligned and your car is tuned.

Courtney Lane, Reporting

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