How Not to Save Gas Money

What happens when a driver does everything experts warn against?

By Gordon Tokumatsu
|  Sunday, Mar 4, 2012  |  Updated 7:33 AM PDT
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USD economist Alan Gin and Joe Terzi with the San Diego Convention & Visitors Bureau speaks with NBC 7 about the impact of increase gas prices. Consumer Bob reports

USD economist Alan Gin and Joe Terzi with the San Diego Convention & Visitors Bureau speaks with NBC 7 about the impact of increase gas prices. Consumer Bob reports

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Feeling Gas Price Crunch

So how long can families watch the price go up without making changes to their lifestyle? NBC 7's Consumer Bob reports.
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What would happen in you did everything the experts say you should avoid when it comes to saving gas?

Let some air out of the tires? Check. Pile a bunch of heavy stuff in the trunk? Check.

Slam on the gas when coming out of a stop? You got it.

After checking the on-board computer, these fuel infractions turned a 15 mile per gallon vehicle into a 10 mile per gallon vehicle.

That means the driver paid nearly $5 to go a mile – and at today’s perpetually rising prices, that can add up.

Taking some air out of the tires made the engine work harder, and tires don’t have to be visibly flat to be fuel in-efficient.

"The tire is deforming as you roll down the road, which causes more grabbing with the road, more traction with the road," said Steve Mazur, AAA Automotive expert.

And 100 pounds of weight in the junk doesn’t help, either.

"If you put that in, say, a Fiat 500, which is 2,000 pounds, then that becomes a significant percentage," Mazur said.

Another factor, speed, can also put a serious dent in a car’s fuel economy.

If safety isn’t enough to keep drivers from punching it when the light turns green, perhaps saving cash at the gas station will be enough of an incentive.

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