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Gas-saving holiday travel tips

(BPT) - The holidays are for giving, but with all the driving around for shopping, parties and family events, you may end up giving more at the gas station due to Grinch-like fuel costs. Holiday jeer can quickly become holiday cheer, though, by simply practicing some gas-saving tips.

“There are all sorts of ways to make sure you’re getting the best fuel efficiency out of your car,” says Andrew Briggs, director of product planning for Yokohama Tire Corporation, makers of a variety of truck and car tires. “One of the best – and easiest – is to properly inflate your tires. Tires that are under-inflated by eight pounds per square inch (psi) can reduce vehicle fuel economy by as much as 2 percent. By keeping the right air pressure, you can begin cutting down on your annual fuel costs.”

Briggs says that even though tires are engineering marvels affecting everything from braking distance and accident avoidance to ride comfort and fuel efficiency, they are easily overlooked – especially when it comes to checking tire pressure. “It’s natural to forget, but for the best gas-saving results, checking your tire pressure should become a monthly routine. It only takes five minutes. If you’re not doing it once a month, chances are you’re driving on under-inflated tires and burning money.”

Another way to save at the pump is to drive on low rolling resistance tires, which improve fuel efficiency because they generate less internal heat as the tire rolls down the road. “With low rolling resistance tires, less energy is wasted,” says Briggs. “That’s a big benefit for budget-conscious consumers who want to maximize their mileage. Studies show driving on low rolling resistance tires alone like Yokohama’s AVID Ascend can save hundreds of dollars over the life of the tire on gas. The tire has Yokohama’s unique orange oil technology, which uses the oil from orange peels to create a special compound that makes an unusually strong bond between synthetic and natural rubber. The result is a tire that offers low rolling resistance. It makes the Ascend about 20 percent more energy efficient than standard touring tires.”

Briggs says there are many ways your tires and vehicles can help save money for the holidays, including driving smarter. Here are some of his money-saving tips:

* Keep your tires properly inflated. Once a month, when the tires are cold (at least three to four hours after the vehicle has been driven), check tire pressure with a reliable tire gauge. Be sure the valve stems have a plastic or metal cap to keep dirt out and seal against leakage.

* Slow down. All vehicles lose fuel economy at speeds above 55 mph. Driving 55 mph instead of 75 mph can reduce fuel cost by 25 percent. Driving 65 mph instead of 75 mph can save 13 percent.

* Keep your car tuned up according to the manufacturer’s recommended schedule to keep all systems in good working order.

* Turn off your engine if you're stopped for more than a couple of minutes. Fuel efficiency savings of up to 19 percent are possible by not letting your engine idle too long while stationary.

* Accelerating less from a stop and slowing moderately can increase fuel efficiency by more than 30 percent.

* Tire alignment should be checked once a year. Misaligned tires can cause the car to scrub, which lowers mileage and causes unnecessary tire wear.

For additional tire care and safety tips, visit www.yokohamatire.com or www.rma.org.

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