LEE COUNTY, Fla. -- As Memorial Day weekend nears and gas prices increase, 4 In Your Corner asked a mechanic about commonly used tricks drivers believe conserve fuel.
Southwest Florida gas prices have risen to nearly $2.90, Thursday. Florida Gulf Coast University Economist Jesse Wright said the increase is due to a higher demand for gas as travel season nears. "There's close to 40 million people traveling this holiday, so it's increasing demand and pushing the price up," he said.
If you're traveling this weekend, you may be looking for ways to stretch your tank. 4 In Your Corner asked Bernal Alvarez, owner of Blast Auto, if commonly used techniques to conserve fuel are tips or myths.
1. Top off your gas tank -- Some drivers continue fueling their cars, even after the pump says your tank is full, to maximize their tank before a road trip. Alvarez said this is a myth. Leaving about 20% of space in your gas tank is necessary for your fuel to expand. "When you fill to the rim, you might end up spilling gas, which isn't good safety-wise, and you're wasting your money," he said.
2. Turn off the air conditioning while you're driving -- It's a common perception that your AC uses fuel. Alvarez said your AC does use a small amount of fuel. However, if you roll your windows down to compensate, you may be using more fuel either way. "It's trapping more air, then there's more drag," he said. "If you keep your windows closed, it's more slick and there's less wind resistance."
3. Use Cruise Control -- This feature will allow you to drive at a steady pace, therefore use less fuel. "Definitely. You stay a steady speed and there's more control on the RPMs, and that maximizes the performance of your engine. By maximizing the performance of your engine, you're improving your fuel mileage," Alvarez said.
4. Pump gas in the early morning or evening -- Alvarez said this is a good tip. Temperature affects the density of the gas pumped. Pumping during cooler temperatures will give you more gas for your dollar.
Alvarez said the best way to conserve fuel, is to make sure your car's maintenance is up to date. Tire pressure also affects a car's fuel efficiency.