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$3.60 – Is that a lot of money? Well, that depends, a lot of money for what? A stick of chewing gum, yeah. A car? Jump at the chance. The nationwide average price for a gallon of regular gas hit $3.60 in 2012, according to AAA. The average price now on the West Coast in the summer of 2013 is $3.94 per gallon. Throughout the country, folks complained that prices had never been so high, and they could hardly afford to drive to work anymore. But was it really that bad? In comparison to the rest of the world, the US seems to have gotten off easy: In the summer of 2013; Belgium is $8.06/gallon ($2.13/liter); the Netherlands is $8.82/gallon ($2.33/liter); the United Kingdom is $8.17/gallon ($2.16/liter). And these are just a handful of nations that have it much worse than the States; Turkey is $9.23/gallon ($2.44/liter); Italy is $9.04/gallon ($2.39/liter); Israel is $7.98/gallon ($2.11/liter); Spain is $7.15/gallon ($1.89/liter); Peru is $5.60/gallon ($1.48/liter); China is $4.92/gallon ($1.30/liter). In spite of this information, $3.94 is still higher than we’re used to and more than we want to pay. In Pakistan, gas costs $3.86/gallon ($1.02/liter). The average Pakistani would have to put in more than a full day’s work, on average, to afford a single gallon of gas in his country.

There are a few ways you can “trick” your car into needing less gas and get the highest possible gas mileage out of it. You might as well save that $20.00 you would have spent filling up the tank; keep it for a rainy day. Check the car’s owner’s manual (it came with an owner’s manual?) to see what type of gas is best for the car. If it needs Premium, splurge. If it doesn’t, why bother? Only 2% of cars in the US require the expensive stuff, yet 20% of fuel sold is Premium. Save the 30-40 cents per gallon. Keep your car in good running order. Tune the engine when it needs tuning. Change the oil after 3,000 miles or when the light goes on, whichever comes first. This will give your vehicle the highest fuel economy and best efficiency. Periodically clean your fuel injection system, especially when you notice sluggish performance, stalling or other unwanted symptoms. Actually follow speed limits. Drive like a scared 16-year-old behind the wheel for the first time. No, don’t crash, but be careful.  Ease into a stop and ease onto the gas when it’s your turn at the stop sign. No need to slam your foot on the pedal. Don’t jump from 30 mph to 55 mph to 45 mph; keep your speed constant. When you accelerate quickly, the car uses more fuel. Use your cruise control when you can. Keep your tires at their appropriate inflation (again, check the owner’s manual). This increases fuel efficiency by proving less resistance against the road. If you’re not golfing, take the clubs out of the trunk. While you’re at it, get rid of all that unneeded junk that just piles up. The heavier your vehicle, the more fuel you waste. If you have to run to the grocery store to pick up a gallon of milk, go to the dry cleaners and get your clothes too. Running more errands in one trip can save on the total amount of miles driven and save the gas. Carpool. Sure, it seems like one trip won’t matter, but the trips to the kids’ baseball practice add up. Make a deal with another parent and take turns. Then relish in that moment alone while the rug rats take their excess energy out on a stick of wood.

There are so many minor ways to preserve gas that in the long run, $3.60 doesn’t seem so bad anymore; but $3.94 is still difficult to swallow. I remember in recent years when a gallon of gas here in Grants Pass approached $5.00! It could happen again. If this isn’t convincing for you, go look at what people in Italy pay each time they fill up their car. Still not convinced? Well then forget the car. Take a walk. If you want your car to run better, give STAR Automotive a call at (541) 476-9646.