For Immediate Release - March 14, 2011

Patrick-Murray Administration's Division of Standards Offers Gas-Saving Tips as Prices Continue to Soar

10 easy, practical ways to lower gas usage can save money at the pump

BOSTON - March 14, 2011 - With gas prices marching upward at a rapid pace, the Patrick-Murray Administration's Division of Standards today offered consumers 10 tips on saving gas, including sticking to the speed limit, cleaning out the trunk, and keeping tires properly inflated.

Gas prices have increased sharply in recent weeks. According to statistics compiled by the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs, the average price per gallon of "regular" grade gasoline jumped 14 cents to $3.42, between the weeks of Feb. 23-March 1 and March 2-8. At the beginning of this year, the average price per gallon of "regular" grade gas was $3.09.

"Gas prices can be greatly influenced by world affairs, and recently events in the Middle East have certainly had an adverse effect for consumers at the gas station," said Barbara Anthony, the Undersecretary of the Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation. "Consumers can help offset rising prices by taking some easy, practical steps to improve gas mileage and stretch out that tank of gas."

For the week of March 2-8, the average price per gallon for "regular" gas was $3.42, compared to $2.70 in 2010. For a 15-gallon fill-up, that means it costs an extra $10.80 each trip to the gas station. Consumers are encouraged to shop around their neighborhoods for the lowest-priced gas, and stations at major intersections or on major highways are not usually the best buys.

"At times like this when gas prices are on the rise, preserving gas mileage is important," said Charles Carroll, the Director of the Division of Standards. "Little things a consumer can do adds up, and keeps a few dollars in their wallets when they are filling up their vehicle."

Here are 10 tips on saving fuel:

1. Drive at or below the posted speed limit.

2. Avoid jack-rabbit stops and starts as they cause excessive and unnecessary wear on tires and brakes.

3. Maintain proper tire pressure. Under-inflated tires can make your car engine work harder and burn more fuel. Tire pressure is usually posted on the inside of the driver's door.

4. Use speed control to maintain an even speed whenever possible.

5. Keep your vehicle properly tuned up.

6. Don't overbuy octane. Check the owner's manual to determine the minimum octane required for your vehicle.

7. Remove unnecessary items from your trunk or storage area. Extra weight reduces fuel mileage.

8. Change your air filter periodically as a dirty air filter reduces fuel mileage.

9. Change your transmission fluid periodically as required. A slipping transmission increases fuel use.

10. Use a credit or store card that offer rebates or reduced price for fuel purchases.

The Patrick-Murray Administration's Division of Standards enforces laws, rules, and regulations relating to weights and measures and the use of weighing and measuring devices in commercial transactions. It consistently checks item pricing and pricing methods at retailers throughout Massachusetts. The Division is part of the Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation. For more on the Division and the Office, visit www.mass.gov/consumer and the Office's Consumer Connections blog, and follow the Office on Twitter @Mass_Consumer.

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