saving-gasWith fuel prices stuck on high, using better planning, driving and vehicle maintenance practices can help you get more miles to the gallons and better value as you top off your tank.

Frank Kelly, wheelchair user and certified mobility consultant for IMED Mobility, Roseville, Minn., says while newer vans are getting better mileage, he knows he could get better mileage in his 2005 Chrysler Town & Country minivan using better driving practices.

“I drive in the fast lane and get 19.8 mpg,” says Kelly. “If I would slow down and drive the speed limit, I’d probably get an additional 3-4 mpg. But I weigh it as, what’s my time worth if it takes me 15 minutes more to get somewhere?”

Prior to moving closer to work, Kelly drove 100 miles round trip. Now with a 12-mile round trip, he noticed his mpg has dropped to 12-14. He figures it’s the difference between driving non-stop on a highway and stopping, idling and starting at six four-way stop signs.

Here are more ways to get better mileage while gas prices stay high:

1. Maintain proper tire inflation (can result in fuel savings of 4 percent).

2. Tune your engine and change oil and air filters on a regular basis. A dirty air filter — something you or a friend can easily change (saving labor costs) — can decrease mpg by 1-2, translating to $.04-.07 cents per gallon.

3. Slow down: Observe speed limits. Driving aggressively, speeding and braking hard can lower your mpg 5-33 percent, according to www.fueleconomy.gov. Most of today’s vehicles get optimum fuel economy at 55 mph, and every 5 mph you drive over 50 is like paying an extra $.25 cents per gallon. Also, www.GasBuddy.com says slowing down when you see a red light ahead may allow you to coast through a green light, avoiding stopping and idling. Jackrabbit star