Gas prices are on the rise, again! So, it’s time to get the junk out of your trunk and save gas, save money!

The purpose for your trunk or hatchback is to transport objects: groceries, sporting equipment like bowling balls, hockey sticks, basketballs. And, when you are done with your activity, store it…but not in your trunk. People don’t realize that all that extra weight adds up and so does your gasoline bill by lugging all that stuff around town.

It may only be a couple of dollars per fill up, but after 10 fill ups, that’s and extra $20 bucks that goes into the gas station cash register. Or, take the second option: get the junk out of your trunk and keep that money in your wallet.

Another fuel saving tidbit: use “Top-Tier” fuel. Not only is it going to help your wallet by increasing your fuel economy, but helps keep your engine intake clean, therefore less emissions out of the tail pipe.

About 10 years ago, six auto manufacturers got together for one purpose: to create a superior fuel formula. Audi, BMW, General Motors, Honda, Toyota and Volkswagen presented this formula concept to a group of petroleum companies. But, which petroleum companies would embrace this cleaner burning fuel? Handfuls complied and were deemed “Top-Tier” by the manufacturing groups.

As a matter of fact, if you were to read the owner’s manual of one of these above manufactures, it will tell the reader to use “Top Tier” fuel in their vehicle. It’s that important. But, how?

A while back, my shop techs decided to see if the “Top-Tier” fuel claims were true. So, we “volunteered” our tire manager’s vehicle as the test subject: a four year old, six-cylinder Dodge. For several weeks, he drove his car back and forth to work, the grocery store, picked up kids, etcetera. All the time filling up at a “Top-Tier” station. Then, we had him switch to a non, “Top-Tier” fuel station. He continued his daily driving habits just like he did with the “health food” gasoline.

Well, I guess the claims lauding “Top-Tier” were correct. He averaged 22.9 with the “healthy” fuel versus 19.8 with the “junk-food” gas. He paid approximately $1.47 more per fill-up from the “Top-Tier” station as opposed to the other brands. He went a little more than 85 miles per tank on the good stuff compared to the second-string stuff. Overall, the “Top-Tier” fuel economy was living up to its claims.

Then, there was the “clean” engine, emissions concept. When testing the exhaust with an automotive specialty tool called a five-gas analyzer, it was quite evident that the greenhouse emissions coming out of the tail pipe were less while using “Top-Tier” versus the other non-conforming fuel companies.

So, now we have two ways to help save gas, our wallet. By keeping unnecessary objects out of the trunk, you gain more mpg. And, by using a “Top-Tier” fuel, you double your chances of going a lot farther on a tank of gas and keeping that green in your pocket – all at the same time.

Lesson learned the easy way.

About The Author

Pam Oakes is a shop owner, ASE-certified technician, automotive author, automotive speaker, and syndicated radio host of “Car Care for the Clueless” on CBS Radio, CoachMeRadio, and AOL Radio -- LIVE@5 p.m. every Friday. And, yes, she still “turns wrenches.”

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