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Steps to make your gasoline last longer

The average cost of gas is $3.41 per gallon right now.

PHOENIX — Who would have thought that $2.42 per gallon of gasoline would have been considered the “good old days”? 

That’s what gas was going for 12 months ago. By early 2022, the average cost is $3.41 per gallon, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration

Many parts of the Valley are seeing prices closer to $4 per gallon.

While we can’t change the price of a gallon of gas, we can change take steps to make that gas last longer.

A change in driving habits

“Being a good driver on the road is going to help you save a lot of gasoline.” Advised Aldo Vazquez, with AAA Arizona.

Some tips on being a good driver (and saving gas at the same time):

  • Avoid sudden acceleration. “Jackrabbit” starts or sudden acceleration burns more gas than a slow and steady start.
  • Slow down. Every 5 miles per hour over 50 is the equivalent of spending $.20/gallon at the pump.
  • Maintain a steady speed. Use cruise control when driving on highways whenever it is safe.
  • Avoid idling your vehicle.
  • Limit air conditioning usage when possible. But also:
  • Do not drive with windows open while driving on freeways. This creates more drag on the vehicle, reducing your fuel efficiency.

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Maintaining your ride

“Make sure that your car is in good mechanical condition,” advised Glen Haywood, of Good Works Auto Repair in Tempe. “That the spark plugs have been checked, and they need to be changed periodically depending on the make and model of the vehicle- between 60,000 and 100,000 miles.”

Also, keeping tires inflated at a proper pressure is important to maintaining fuel efficiency. Under-inflated tires cause the vehicle to work a little harder, burning more gas.

Some other tips for keeping your vehicle properly maintained:

  • Clean out all unneeded cargo. Every two pounds of cargo reduces fuel efficiency by 1%.
  • Maintain fluids in the vehicle. Old oil or low transmission fluid can cause extra stress on a motor.
  • Combine trips. Plan trips ahead to avoid unnecessary travel.
  • Keep your vehicle clean and waxed. The passing air can cause drag on the vehicle if the vehicle is dirty, reducing fuel efficiency.

RELATED: US consumer prices soared 7% in past year, most since 1982

A final money-saving tip

“If you've got a car that burns regular gasoline, running higher grade gasoline, like mid-grade or premium fuel is another big waste of money because your car doesn't require it,” said Haywood.

Higher octane gasoline does not help your car run any better, Haywood says. But it does waste money.

12 News partners with Gasbuddy.com to track the best gas prices around the Valley.

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