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Save on Gas!Short of buying a new car or hybrid (the latter not always better at saving fuel than the former) or not driving as much, here’s what you can do now to save at the pump.

Image of gas nozzle.

Use regular octane gas whenever possible.
Modern cars (circa 1995 and up) all have sophisticated on-board diagnostic computers that adjust engine timing to reduce or eliminate engine knock, so even most cars listed as “premium recommended” can run with little or no loss in performance with regular fuel.

Check tire pressures every month.
The federal government’s Office of Energy Efficiency notes that air pressures eight psi down from recommended levels can bring a four percent increase in fuel consumption alone, plus result in a year less of life to the average driver’s tires.

Change the air filter along with your oil.
The American Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) says that replacing a clogged air filter can improve fuel economy by up to 10 percent.

Drive smoothly.
Cutting down on rapid acceleration and hard braking by looking down the road for red lights, stop signs or other impediments can improve fuel economy by up to 33 percent. Whoa.

Michael Bettencourt test drives more than 100 new vehicles a year and is a member of the Automobile Journalists Association of Canada.