Getting your money's worth at the gas pump -

Get your money's worth at the gas pump

AAA's online fuel gauge report allows you to check the average price of gas in your state every day. But no matter what your local gas station is charging, our auto expert Steve Strope says there are things you can do to get your money's worth out of each and every gallon.

High–performance street machines are Steve Strope's business. He designs and builds award-winning hot rods and muscle cars … like this 1970 Plymouth roadrunner. You don't put regular gas in a car like this. But Steve says regular is most likely the best gas for your car.

Filling up your gas tank these days can be a real shocker. Forty, fifty, sixty-dollars a pop … it's amazing how high the total can go before the pump will actually shut off. And while there's nothing you can do about the price of gas, there are some things you can do to get your money's worth.

For starters, it's possible you've been overpaying at the pump simply by choosing the wrong octane gasoline. Gasoline is sold in three grades … regular, mid-grade and premium. Regular has an octane rating of 85 to 87; mid-grade is 88 to 89 and premium has an octane level of 90 and higher.

There seems to be some confusion about all these octane levels. Some people even think the only difference among them is their cost. Well, let's end the confusion here and now. Octane levels are about controlling detonation in your engine. You may know detonation by that knocking or pinging sound when you accelerate. So that 10 to 20 cents more per gallon you're paying for mid-grade or premium may actually be a big waste of money.

What you want to do is check your owner's manual. You might be surprised that the manufacturer recommends regular, which is cheaper. An example of why you would pay more for premium is if you have a high-performance car, and the owner's manual dictates you purchase high octane. Now, be aware … if you run regular gas in your high performance car, you may void your manufacturer warranty.

There are a few things you can do that won't cost you anything, but will help you get better gas mileage. Be sure to keep your tires properly inflated. Otherwise, you could see a dramatic drop in fuel economy. Under-inflated tires can reduce your fuel economy by as much as 25 percent.

Every year in the US, 147 million gallons of fuel vaporize because people don't put their gas caps back on right. So after you're done filling up, make sure yours goes back on properly.

You may have heard it before, and it's true: The faster you go, the worse your fuel economy. This means when you're speeding, you're wasting money. Let alone the cost of the ticket.

The days of cheap gas are over. And it's up to all of us to help lower our own fuel costs. So buy the octane levels recommended in your owner's manual and takes steps to help maximize your gas mileage. You may just be surprised how much money you'll save at the pump!

Copyright 2011 America Now.  All rights reserved.



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