Drivers try to stretch dollars

Published 7:24pm Monday, April 2, 2012

DETROIT — Shelling out $4 a gallon for gasoline may be motivating Michigan drivers look for new ways to save fuel. Jerry Medinger, who manages the Clean Fuels and Vehicle Technology program for the American Lung Association (ALA), says there are plenty of steps to take to save gas money and reduce pollution.
• Some drivers plan ahead to do many errands at once.
“You know, a car is most polluting when it first starts: cold starts. So, the idea would be if you can get into the car and drive to your farthest destination first, and then work your way back. Try to do ‘trip chaining,’ so you make one trip with multiple stops, rather than multiple trips.”
• An idling vehicle gets zero miles per gallon, so  shut off the engine rather than let it idle, even for a minute.

If high gas prices have you considering buying a more efficient vehicle, Medinger says it’s important to do some homework. There’s more to it, he explains, than just buying a smaller car.
There are thousands of flex-fuel vehicles already on the road in Michigan, although many people don’t realize they have one. Medinger says check the owner’s manual. Many cars have yellow gas caps and rear tags that say “flex fuel,” which means it may be able run on E-85.
“The E-85 that’s for sale is running, last time I checked, anywhere between 60 and 80 cents cheaper per gallon.”

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