Expert gives tips on making your car fuel-efficient


by Cleve Bryan

Posted on March 15, 2012 at 4:47 PM

Updated Thursday, Mar 15 at 5:41 PM

VIRGINIA BEACH --  Gas prices are still rising.  In fact, on Thursday, they rose for the sixth straight day.  The national average is now $3.82 a gallon. 

The average cost in Hampton Roads is $3.71.  That's 27 cents more than last year at this time.

Technicians at Protime Automotive in Virginia Beach talked about ways to make the most of your gas money.

It starts with the tires.  Make sure your tires are properly aligned and inflated to the correct pressure.

"By over-inflation of the tires, you wear out the centers of the tires faster. Under-inflating puts too much friction on the road surface which decreases your fuel economy," explained shop foreman Paul Gulrud.

It may cost a few bucks up front, but experts say a tune-up is one of the most important ways to save gas.

"Worn out spark plugs just doesn't create enough spark to burn fuel so you're ending up putting more fuel in the engine than needs to be."

Gulrud says products you can add to your fuel tank can help clean the engine in some cases, but there are no magic elixirs he's aware of with dramatic results.

"You're probably going to see little results," Gulrud said.  "It's when you combine all that stuff together that you're going to get the most fuel economy that your vehicle can produce."

Your driving style can also affect gas mileage.   If you avoid accelerating quickly at stop lights and driving over 60 miles per hour, that can help save gas.