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How to save gas while dealing with traffic

Traffic steals time and it also steals costly fuel. There are ways to stop the drain!

Slogging through morning traffic is no one's idea of a good time. Start and stop driving becomes a pain in the wallet when you realize fuel is being wasted. But there are things you can do to save your money if you can't save your time.

Drive steady, avoid hard stops and starts

Cars use up a lot of energy coming up to speed. They also waste energy when braking hard to come to a stop. Driving smoothly makes a difference in gas mileage. The old trick of pressing on the gas pedal as if you have an egg under your foot really does work. So does looking ahead and anticipating the slow up in front of you so your braking is smooth and controlled. Just relax and keep that extra gas in your tank!

Roll up your windows

Ever hold a paper bag out the window of a moving car? That drag your feel takes energy to overcome, and you want to keep your car from having too much drag. While modern cars are more aerodynamic than ever, remember that driving with open windows is NOT saving you energy. Your air conditioner is more fuel efficient than having the outside air blow through the car.

Let your automatic transmission help

Modern automatic transmissions are very smart. They know when to shift for maximum efficiency and can pull every mile from your gallon of gas. Keep the selector in "D" or if your car is so equipped avoid manually "shifting" from gear to gear with stick or paddle. Those manual shifts are more for going fast, not making the most of your gas. Take advantage of the "OD" or overdrive option to shift into super economy mode while driving above 40 miles per hour.

Check those tires

We get it, everyone's busy. But trust us, the 5 minutes you'll spend checking (or having the car-crazy teen next door check) your tire pressure will come back to you ten-fold. Properly inflated tires will get you much better mileage. Inflating your tires to the maximum safe pressure marked on the sidewall will save even more fuel. Why? Remember riding nearly flat bike tires as a kid? You had to struggle just to keep the bike going. The same thing is true for cars. Keeping the tires fully (but safely) inflated means less rolling resistance. That means you can keep rolling while using less gas.

Avoid the traffic mess in the first place

Driving down smoothly moving back roads will save gas over long jams on the Interstate. Stay with CBS12 News in the morning to get the latest traffic updates as well as following us on Twitter and our mobile app.

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