SOURCE: Response Insurance

May 14, 2007 11:42 ET

8 Answers to $3.00-a-Gallon Gas

Money-Saving Tips to Ease the Sting of Record-High Gas Prices

MERIDEN, CT -- (MARKET WIRE) -- May 14, 2007 -- Record-breaking gas prices hit before the traditional Memorial Day kickoff of escalating summer prices. Although hybrid cars and car pools are becoming more popular, according to experts, extra miles can be squeezed out of every fill-up if drivers followed a few simple rules.

"Everything comes down to two basic categories of advice," said Ray Palermo, director of public relations for national car insurer, Response Insurance, "car care and driving habits." Explained Palermo, "Getting a tune-up will help with gas mileage, extend the life of your car and ensure a safer ride, but there are many cost-free ways to save money, as well." He offered several tips, including:

-- Smooth out your driving style by avoiding "jack rabbit" starts and sharp braking. Both waste gas and can present a hazard for others on the road.

-- It is estimated that every mile per hour driven above 55 MPH costs 1% in fuel economy. So, slowing down can be both safe and fuel-efficient. Maintaining a constant speed also maximizes your car's performance. If road conditions permit, use the cruise control.

-- Air conditioners can account for a 10-15% impact on mileage. If you can't avoid it, do not turn on the air conditioner as a first response to the heat. Start your drive with the windows open to exhaust the hot air out of the rear windows and then put on the A/C if needed. This will also enable the air conditioning to work faster and more efficiently when turned on.

-- Accelerate as you approach a hill, rather than hitting the gas and switching gears once on the incline.

-- Lighten the car's load by removing all unnecessary items from the trunk, such as the bag of sand and shovel from the winter. Every 200 pounds of weight reduces gas efficiency by one mile per gallon.

-- If you have to carry a lot of baggage, avoid using a roof-top container, which will increase the air drag. If you drive a pick-up truck, the open bed will have the same impact, so put a cover on it.

-- Keep your tires inflated to the level recommended by the manufacturer. Incorrectly inflated tires impact fuel efficiency.

-- Plan your trip routes and combine trips to minimize travel.

Additional information on this and other topics is available online at the Response Insurance Safety Information Center: www.response.com/safety.

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