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CT Expert Offers 5 Ways to Save Money on Summer Driving

Route Numbering and Alignment. Signs on I-84 east. Photo courtesy Kurumi.com

It is Summer — Finally!

The upcoming Fourth of July weekend will kick the vacation season into high gear with many families hitting the road for some summer fun. Others may put the brakes on their plans with the soaring price of gas currently averaging $2.89 per gallon. However, experts at New Country BMW in Hartford are steering drivers toward savings with tips to cut costs and improve safety at the same time.

“While there’s not much that can be done about the price of gas, there are things that car owners can do to increase efficiency and reduce waste,” said Job Pimentel, General Manager of New Country BMW/MINI.  “More important than saving money, implementing these changes can help keep your family safer on the road.”

Pimentel offers his top five ways to save money on summer driving:

Properly maintain the vehicle – Pimentel recommends stopping by the dealership to make sure all scheduled maintenance is up to date to ensure top performance. Fluids need to be at optimal levels for summer heat, clean filters help to keep cars running more fuel efficiently, and using the wrong motor oil can cause the engine to work harder and waste gas.

“Car engines really do need to be regularly tuned. A properly tuned engine uses less gas, so if you can’t remember when you last had a tune-up, it may be time to schedule one,” suggested Pimentel.

Reduce wind resistance – Remove unneeded car racks and carriers when not in use and try to avoid using one altogether. If absolutely necessary, use the one suggested by the car’s manufacturer for the best fit. While opening a window can save on gas-guzzling air –conditioning, it increases drag and costs you fuel in the long run – so keep your windows closed whenever possible.

Check the Tire Pressure – Under-inflation causes tires to wear out faster and wastes gas. Properly inflated tires reduce friction and offer better gas mileage. Temperature changes can cause tire pressure to fluctuate by as much as two to three pounds per square inch (psi), so be sure to check the psi regularly. Also, if you still have snow tires on, be sure to swap them out every spring. Snow tires cause excess friction on dry surfaces, wasting gas.

Monitor your driving habits – Braking excessively wastes gas and causes the brake pads to wear out quickly. Keep a safe distance between yourself and the car in front of you when you’re in heavy traffic to avoid constant braking. For cars with an automatic transmission, use cruise control to manage speed and conserve fuel. Driving just below the speed limit and driving smoothly (not accelerating quickly) uses gas more efficiently.

Consider Buying a Fuel-Efficient Car – More car makers are adding hybrids and electric vehicles to their line-ups. There are several models of affordable non-hybrids that can get 40 miles per gallon.

“BMW is one maker that has many plug-in and hybrid electric vehicles that offer the power, size and style of a traditional car,” said Pimentel “Sales and tax incentives also make these cars more affordable, and with states like Connecticut increasing the number of free public EV charging stations, it’s possible to get charged up while on the road.”

To help avoid the expense of an accident, Pimentel recommends vehicle features and technology such as blind spot detection, back up camera, automatic breaking, traction control and All Wheel Drive.

Night driving can be a real challenge for a lot of people due to reduced visibility.  BMW’s night-vision with pedestrian detection can even tell the difference between animals and humans.  Also, the lane departure warning alerts you if it thinks you are falling asleep at the wheel.

“The array of electronic safety systems available on today’s new cars can alert you to road hazards and ensure that your automobile stays on track even in critical driving situations,” said Pimentel. “We wish everyone a safe summer and we’re here to help ensure that happens.”

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