Gas prices are the highest in seven years. Here’s how to stretch a gallon.

Underinflated tires, lead foot, junk in your trunk are drag on fuel economy

Gas prices are the highest in seven years. Here’s how to stretch a gallon.

SAN ANTONIO – Another week, another nickel.

Gas prices remain in the climbing lane, as area drivers pay the highest price for fuel in seven years. Rising prices are fueled by vaccination freedom and summer travel demand.

Harry Lincoln paid $37.02 to fill his Nissan Altima, a total he’s not seen in a while. His strategy is simple To curb costs.

“I just go where I need to go,” he said. “No joy riding or running around.”

On Friday, the average price around San Antonio was $2.79 per gallon, 91 cents more than last mid-July.

In addition to avoiding unnecessary trips, there are some ways to stretch a gallon and a dollar.

“You want to start out by checking your tire pressure,” said Consumer Reports auto editor Mike Quincy. “Having tires with lower pressure than what is recommended on your door jamb sticker can affect fuel economy, along with performance and handling.”

Next, lighten your load. Get the heavy junk out of the trunk and remove unused roof racks. At highway speeds, more than half of engine power goes to overcoming aerodynamic drag.

How you drive makes a difference, too.

Consumer Reports’ tests on a Toyota Rav4 found that reducing speed from 75 mph to 65 mph improves fuel economy by six miles a gallon. Drop down to 55 mph, and you get another eight miles out of that gallon of gas.

Avoid jack-rabbit starts, too.

“The harder you accelerate, the more fuel you use,” Quincy said. “The goal should be to drive evenly and anticipate the movement of traffic.”

It pays to shop around because prices can vary a lot. Use apps like AAA or Gas Buddy to check prices along your route. Generally, the big warehouses and stations off major highways have lower prices so that you can ease the squeeze on your wallet.

About the Authors:

As a consumer reporter, Marilyn is all about helping people stay safe and save a buck. Since coming to KSAT in 1985, she’s covered everything from crime to politics, winning awards for her coverage of the Mexican Mafia, Oklahoma tornadoes, children’s transplants, an investigation into voting irregularities and even a hit-and-run Santa Claus.