Going Farther Per Gallon

Fueling up is never a favorite stop.

One told us, "Ten years ago when I bought the car, it was about $20 bucks. Now it's $42."

Another said, "It's expensive, you know. It's a lot of money."

While you can't control the cost of gas, you can control how far you go on a gallon of gas.

Consumer Reports testers use this fuel meter to put several cars through their paces at 55, 65 and 75 miles per hour.

Jake Fisher with Consumer Reports found, "While it may not be surprising that when you drive faster, you use more fuel, you may be surprised about how much fuel you actually use."

Take this 4-cylinder Honda Accord LX. At 55 miles per hour it gets an impressive 50 miles per gallon. But at 65, it drops to 42 miles per gallon, and going 75, it drops to 36 miles per gallon.

Jake explains, ""We also tested the Toyota RAV4 and three versions of the Ford Fusion, including the hybrid. And we found similar results with all of them."

Loading your car for road trips also cuts your fuel efficiency - including adding a bike rack.

By how much? Remember the Honda Accord at 65 miles per hour getting 42 miles per gallon? With a bike rack, fuel efficiency drops to 37. Add a wind deflector, and surprisingly it drops again to 35 miles per gallon. Now add two bikes, and the mileage sinks to 27 miles per gallon.

Jake says, "So if you're not using your bike rack, take it off because it really is going to hurt your fuel efficiency."

A lighter load and a lighter foot on the pedal definitely add up to savings at the pump.

Consumer Reports says a rooftop luggage carrier can also cut your fuel efficiency by six miles per gallon. So take it off if you aren't using it.
Also check to make sure your tires are properly inflated. Underinflated tires hurt your fuel economy, too.

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