Gas-Saving Tips

May 4, 2008 12:00:00 AM PDT
The kind of car you drive and how your drive it can make a big difference in how much you pay for gas. Skip premium fuel if you can. Your owner's manual should tell you what the lowest grade of gas acceptable is. And be sure to check your tires once a month, because properly inflated tires deliver the best gas mileage.

Whether you're headed on vacation or just headed to work, Consumer Reports tests show several moves can add up to real savings. Figure you could be losing two to three miles per gallon of gas if you accelerate hard or brake abruptly. So drive smoothly.

Even more important; driving 55. Tests in a Toyota Camry like this at 65 miles per hour cut fuel efficiency by five miles per gallon. Traveling even faster, at 75, testers lost another five miles per gallon. That's ten miles less per gallon of gas! That can add up!

And don't forget where the rubber meets the road! Replacing tires with ones that are highly rated by Consumer Reports and have a low rolling resistance can save you more than a hundred dollars a year.

And while a car-top carrier is handy, once you're done with it, remove it. That will help you save on gas, too.

Which cars get the best gas mileage? Although the Toyota Prius still tops Consumer Reports' list, there are several non-hybrids that make the top.

Best Small SUVs
Ford Escape Hybrid, 26 mpg
Saturn Vue Green Line, 24 mpg
Toyota RAV4, (4-cyl.), 23 mpg

Worst Small SUVs
Kia Sorento LX, 15 mpg
Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Sahara, 15 mpg
Jeep Liberty Sport, 15 mpg.

Best Midsized SUVs
Lexus RX400h, 23 mpg;
Toyota Highlander Hybrid Limited, 22 mpg;
BMW X3 3.0si, 19 mpg;
Nissan Murano SL, 19 mpg;
Toyota Highlander Limited (V6), 19mpg.

Worst Midsized SUVs
Jeep Commander Limited (5.7, V8), 13 mpg;
Land Rover LR3 SE(V8), 13 mpg;
Ford Explorer Eddie Bauer (V8), 14 mpg;
Hummer H3, 14 mpg;
Jeep Grand Cherokee Laredo (4.7, V8),14 mpg.

Best Large SUVs
Consumer Reports testing results showed no vehicles with unusually good ratings for fuel economy in this category.

Worst Large SUVs
Dodge Durango Limited(5.7, V8),12 mpg;
Nissan Armada LE, 13 mpg;
Cadillac Escalade, 13 mpg.

Best Pickups
Toyota Tacoma (V6), 17 mpg;
Chevrolet Colorado LS (5-cyl.), 16 mpg;
Honda Ridgeline RTS, 15 mpg;
Nissan Frontier LE (V6), 15mpg.

Worst Pickups
Dodge Ram 1500 SLT (5.7, V8), 11 mpg;
Dodge Ram 1500 SLT (4.7, V8), 12 mpg;
Nissan Titan SE (5.6, V8), 13 mpg;
Chevrolet Avalanche LT (5.3, V8),13 mpg.

Best Hatchbacks
Toyota Prius, 44 mpg;
Toyota Yaris (manual,) 34 mpg;
Honda Fit Sport(manual), 34 mpg.

Best Wagons
Volvo XC70, 19 mpg;
Dodge Magnum SXT (V6), 19 mpg;
Subaru Outback VDC, 19 mpg;
Mazda6 s, 19 mpg.

Worst Hatchbacks & Wagons
Consumer Reports testing results showed no hatchback vehicles with unusually poor ratings for fuel economy in this category.

Best Minivans
Toyota Sienna XLE, 19 mpg;
Honda Odyssey EX, 19 mpg;

Worst Mini Vans
Ford Freestar SEL, 17 mpg;
Kia Sedona EX, 17 mpg;
Dodge Grand Caravan SXT, 17 mpg;
Saturn Relay 3, 17 mpg.


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