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Fri, July 19

Ways to Save: AAA Arizona offers tips to cut fuel costs

Maintain your vehicle, slow down and don't get loaded down with stuff.

Those are some of the basic tips AAA Arizona is sharing to help people cut their fuel costs.

Michelle Donati, public affairs supervisor in the association's Phoenix office, said speeding and rapid acceleration can lower fuel economy nearly 33 percent at highway speeds and 5 percent in city driving.

Donati said it's important for consumers to realize that for every five miles per hour increase of 60 miles per hour costs drivers an additional 24 cents per gallon.

"It really adds up quickly," she said.

When driving on highways and freeways, Donati suggests that motorists use their cruise control whenever possible because it allows them to maintain a steady speed and save fuel.

Another tip from Donati to car owners is to make sure they maintain their vehicles with regular oil changes and tune-ups.

Proper tire pressure is also worth checking monthly.

Donati cited statistics from the rubber manufacturing association that shows 55 percent of cars have at least one under-inflated tire, and 85 percent of drivers don't know how to check the pressure.

One way to tackle that is to visit a mechanic to learn how to properly check tire pressure.

Over-inflated tires are also a bad idea because they wear quickly and lose traction.

Donati said people should inflate their vehicle tires to the manufacturer's recommendation.

Removing items like golf clubs from the trunk can help to improve fuel mileage.

Before leaving on a trip, Donati recommends that drivers refrain from stacking luggage on the roof.

"The more weight that your vehicle is carrying, the more fuel it's going to take to go," she said.

Last but not least, Donati urges consumers to use the Internet and smartphone applications that give information on the lowest fuel prices and fuel calculators.

For more information, visit www.aaa.com/fuelfinder.

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