Lighter foot, lighter load can stretch road trip gas dollar

Consumer Reports tests gas mileage at 55, 65, 75 mph


SAN ANTONIO – That family summer road trip is costing more this year as gas prices are 17 cents a gallon higher. 

While you can't do much about the price of gas other than shop around, you can try to maximize how far a gallon will get you.

Edward Taylor is planning his family's vacation to the Texas Coast.

"If we take my car, it's a V-6, so the gas is more, but my wife's Prius is not as big a deal," he said while admitting he's got a lead foot.

The faster you drive, the more fuel your car uses. Consumer Reports' tests show how much more.

A four-cylinder Honda Accord LX got an impressive 50 miles to the gallon while traveling at 55 miles an hour. 

At 65 miles an hour, mileage dropped to 42 mpg. Zipping along at 75 miles an hour, mileage dropped to 36 miles to the gallon.

"We also tested the Toyota Rav4 and three versions of the Ford Fusion, including the hybrid, and we found similar results with all of them," said Consumer Reports' Jake Fisher.

Loading your car with a luggage rack or bike rack also cuts into fuel efficiency.

The Honda that got 42 miles per gallon at 65 miles an hour, got only 37 miles per gallon with a bike rack and bike was added.  With two bikes, mileage sunk to 27 miles a gallon.

A lighter load, lighter foot and having properly inflated tires can help stretch your summer road trip dollar.

For a list of recent stories Marilyn Moritz has done, click here.

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