If you’ve been looking for a reason to get a hybrid car, here’s one: Gas prices are going up again. Patrick DeHann is the senior oil analyst for GasBuddy.com. He says that as our economy grows, our appetite for oil rises, too. By the time the summer driving season starts in May, gas prices may be well into the $4-per-gallon range, the highest since 2008! So, here’s how to increase your fuel economy, starting now.

  • First, turn your car off. The U.S. Department of Energy says that idling cars use about a gallon per hour, to the tune of billions of gallons of gas. So, if you’re waiting longer than a few minutes for your kids after school, turn your car off, and you’ll save 5 cents per minute.
  • Next, go easy on the pedals. Speeding, braking, and rapid acceleration waste up to one-third of your gas. Experts say that for every five miles per hour above 60 you drive, you’ll waste 24 cents worth of gas. Also, use your cruise control when you can. A steady speed can save you about 43 cents per gallon.
  • The next way to conserve gas: Leave the extras at home. For every extra 100 pounds you carry in the car, your gas mileage goes down 2%. The smaller the car, the more all that junk in your trunk wastes money.
  • Another way to increase your fuel economy: Make sure your car is properly maintained. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, under-inflated tires waste about 31 cents per gallon. To find out how much tire pressure your car needs, refer to your owner’s manual, not what’s stamped on your tire.
  • Finally, fill your tank early in the morning or late at night. Fuel is dispensed by volume. So, if you avoid the heat of the day, the fuel will be more dense, which means you’ll get more gas for the same amount of money.