lg1.jpgOil prices have risen to a record high above $98 a barrel, amid concerns over tight fuel stocks, a weak dollar, bombings in Afghanistan and an attack on a Yemeni oil pipeline. Oil prices soared nearly $2 a barrel Tuesday on expectations of further declines in crude oil stocks, fueling concerns that supplies may be inadequate heading into winter. The market remains bullish and seems to be on an upward trend to hit the psychologically important $100 level.

Unfortunately, this year it looks like we’re not going to be able to count on a nice drop in gasoline prices. With crude oil futures threatening to touch $100 a barrel, gas prices jumped. So, fuel economy is paramount. Here are tactics to help you get the most miles per gallon from your vehicle and save money, too.

No matter what you do, increased gasoline prices are going to affect you in some way. While the price increase may hurt some more than others, the fact remains that we’re all going to have to become accustomed to the fact that the days of cheap gas (and energy in general) are in the rear view mirror.

Regular oil changes and tune-ups cost money and can take a big chunk out of your Saturday. But repairing a car that has failed an emissions test will improve its gas mileage by an average of 4 percent. And fixing a serious maintenance problem, such as a faulty oxygen sensor, can improve mileage by as much as 40 percent. Even a simple change like replacing a clogged air filter can improve gas mileage by up to 10 percent.

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Inflate tires. Properly inflate your tires according to instructions in your vehicle owner’s manual. Under inflated tires can lower gas mileage by 0.4 percent for every pounds drop in pressure of all four tires. Get oil changes every three to four months You can improve your gas mileage by 1 to 2 percent by using your manufacturer’s recommended grade of motor oil.

Avoid idling. Sitting in your car with the engine running wastes gas without getting you anywhere. Telecommute, stagger work hours, carpool, or otherwise try to avoid sitting in rush-hour traffic.

Drive smoothly. Speeding up and then braking can lower gas mileage by 33 percent at highway speeds and 5 percent around town. Using cruise control on the highway can help your vehicle consume gas more efficiently.

Don’t race. It’s safer and less expensive to obey the speed limit. Gas mileage decreases rapidly above 60 mph, typically costing you an extra 20 cents per gallon of gas for each 5 mph over 60 mph.

Lose weight. An extra 100 pounds in your vehicle could reduce your miles per gallon by up to 2 percent, with smaller vehicles being affected more than larger ones. Also, avoid carrying items on the car’s roof, which can increase drag and further reduce fuel efficiency by 5 percent.

Now that you are armed with some pretty easy and simple ways to save gas and maximize your vehicle’s gas mileage.

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