By Judy Pack

Killeen Daily Herald

Easter holiday travelers will continue to see gasoline prices in excess of $2 per gallon as they make their trips to join family.

While most consumers are doing their share of complaining, few have made any drastic changes in their lifestyles as a result of rising fuel costs. Getting as many miles as possible for each gallon of gas can be the key to stretching the time between filling up your vehicles gas tank.

There are a number of things car owners can do to increase their gas mileage efficiency, according to Dan Honig, service manager of Cove Ford, Inc. in Copperas Cove.

Keep your vehicle tuned up, of course, he said. Air pressure in the tires in very important for gas mileage.

Finding what the correct air pressure should be for your tires is as easy as checking a sticker on the car door, usually the drivers door, or looking in the glove compartment, Honig said.

A clean air filter, which is part of the maintenance of your vehicle, is very important to keep your engine running efficiently. Regular oil changes is the other key to maintenance, he said.

Another thing most people dont know about is making sure the engine is running at the proper temperature, Honig added.

If the thermostat isnt opening and closing, then the engine is running cooler than it should be, he said. Drivers should watch their temperature gauge and make sure it is within the normal range.

If the gauge tends to lean to either extreme, Honig said, the vehicle should be taken to your mechanic.

Slow take-offs, instead of fast accelerations, and driving 55 mph instead of 70 mph will also conserve a significant amount of fuel.

Its not necessarily a good idea to use a higher octane gasoline if your owners manual doesnt call for it, he said. Youre going to have stalling problems eventually if you use a higher octane gas than what is suggested for the vehicle.

Its not the way it used to be, he said, when using a higher octane gas meant better engine performance. Using the fuel suggested in the owners manual is very important, and can save money if you find the higher octane isnt necessary.

In addition to the suggestions made by Honig, Rose Rougeau, spokesperson for AAA-Texas, also suggested making sure your vehicle is as light as possible. Hauling extra weight in the passenger compartment or trunk adds weight, and thus uses more fuel.

Also, consolidate trips and errands to cut down on miles driven and find one location where you can take care of all or most errands, Rougeau suggested. Carpool to work, or use public transit, if possible.

Rougeau said gasoline prices in all Texas cities surveyed this week set new record highs. The statewide average price for a gallon of regular self-serve gasoline was $2.033 up seven cents from last weeks average of $1.962 a gallon, as of March 25. The national average for regular self-serve gasoline also hit an all-time high of $2.16 up six cents from last week.

The explosion at the Texas City BP refinery on Wednesday has experts split on its impact on gasoline prices. According to Rougeau, the tragedy is not expected to drive retail prices higher because the damaged unit was involved with high-octane production.

Contact Judy Pack at

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