By Shari Prymak

No one likes it when gas prices go up, but like it or not, it happens and there isn’t much we can do about it. Heck, look at it this way, it may just be the only thing that gets us all off of our oil addiction.

Luckily, there are several things you can do, most of them free, that can help you save gas and save money. And you can start doing some of them immediately.

1) Change your driving habits. Drive in a fuel conscious manner. Go easy on the gas when accelerating, coast as much as possible, and stop racing to stop signs and red lights. If your car has a fuel economy monitor, reset the system and keep track of your fuel consumption. With careful driving habits, you should see your fuel economy increase significantly.

2) Remove unnecessary weight from your car. Don’t carry loads of stuff around with you in your car. All it does is add weight, create a load, and use more gas. Clear out the trunk and back seats. If it’s convenient, you can even avoid filling up your gas tank to the brim at the station. Filling only half way will save a few tens of litres of gas in weight! Try not to drive around everywhere on empty though. Over time, that could lead to fuel pump failure.

3) Check your tire pressure. Check the pressure of your car’s tires with a gauge and make adjustments at a pump if necessary. The proper tire pressure for your car is usually posted on a sticker on the inner door jams. This easy check should be done at least once a month.

4) Keep your car in good tune. Make sure the air filter element is clean to allow proper engine breathing. Don’t miss tune-ups. And periodically add a manufacturer approved fuel system cleaner/additive to the gas tank at fill-up time to help promote optimum fuel economy.

5) Minimize the use of comforts. Your car is loaded with features and comforts which can affect fuel consumption when in use. Some of these include the air conditioner, heater, heated seats, open windows, and open sunroof. Keeping the use of these things to a minimum can help improve fuel consumption.