With high temps and high gas prices, here's how to improve fuel efficiency

Posted at 2:41 PM, Jul 04, 2018

Gas prices are at a four-year high this Fourth of July holiday, and yet, a record number of Marylanders are expected to travel by car, according to AAA Mid-Atlantic.

While it may feel like the cents and dollars are adding up way more than the gallons, gas in Maryland is down 10 cents over last month and it's five cents lower than the national average.

Still, at around $2.80, you'll want to stretch whatever you put into your tank. And with the high-temperatures, your car's air conditioning system can quickly guzzle gas.

The U.S. Department of Energy found that running the A/C in very hot conditions can reduce a car's fuel economy by 25 percent.

How to use the A/C efficiently:

  • Roll down the windows at lower speeds, use the A/C at highway speeds
  • Park in the shade or use a sunshade
  • Drive with the windows open for a short time to let out the hot air first. This will put less demand on the A/C
  • Turn on the A/C only after you begin driving

Extra weight in your car can eat up gas and items on your hood can create aerodynamic drag making the engine work harder.

Consumer Reports tested a mid-sized car for aerodynamic drag and its impact on fuel economy. The car, traveling at around 65 mph, had 42 mpg with nothing on the roof. When they added a bike rack, the mileage dropped by 5 mpg and when they added two bikes, the mpg dropped to 27 mpg.

Tire pressure is also a factor. Consumer Reports found that tires under-inflated by 10 psi lost around 1.3 miles per gallon.

For current gas prices in the area, click here.