The essentials: Increase gas mileage

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With the prices of gas so high and expected to climb, teenagers are hurting at the pump. Here are tips to help you increase gas mileage, from www.fueleconomy.gov and consumer advocate and author Clark Howard's Web site, clarkhoward.com.

- Drive efficiently . Don't drive aggressively; it doesn't get you anywhere faster, and it can decrease your miles per gallon by up to one-third. Also, slow down: For every 5 mph you drive over 60 mph, it's like paying about 20 cents more per gallon of gas.

- Keep your car in shape. Little things such as changing the air filter, using the recommended grade of motor oil and keeping the engine in tune can add up big on fuel efficiency. Something as easy as checking the air pressure in the tires regularly can save 3 cents on the gallon.

- Get organized. Combine your trips or errands. Your car runs more efficiently when the engine is warmed up.

- Dump it. If the car you have is a serious gas guzzler, it might be cheaper to replace it than keep it. Cars that have good gas mileage don't necessarily have to be expensive, either. A 2003 Toyota Prius hybrid is rated about 41 miles per gallon and costs $11,000.

A good Web site to calculate if it would be better to keep your car or sell it is politicalcalculations.blogspot.com/2006/04/should-you-trade-in-your-gas-guzzler.html.

John Klement is a sophomore at Greenbrier High School.


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