Back in the dark ages, when I was a starving sports reporter living pay check to pay check, I drove a Volkswagen Beetle. Gasoline was about 35 cents a gallon.

Life was grand.

Through the years my paychecks have gotten a little fatter and my cars have gotten a lot bigger.

My most recent vehicles were gas guzzling, full sized SUVs.

Life was grand.

That is, until nearly $3 a gallon gasoline became the norm with predictions that it will be nearly $4 by this summer.

I drove a Lincoln Navigator for four years that averaged about 12 miles per gallon until I switched two years ago to a Toyota Sequoia that gives me about 15 miles a gallon. That's if I'm going down hill with the air conditioning off and aided by a 30 mph tailwind.

It costs me about $68 and change each trip to the gas station.

That high fuel bill has left me looking for some relief without going back to a VW.

I've asked a lot a people and read a look of articles about how to conserve gas and save a few coins.

Here are some of the tips:

• Slow down. Consumer Reports says that for every five miles per hour you drive over 60 costs you the equivalent of 10 cents a gallon. Those same reports say quick stops and starts rob you of fuel efficiency. I heard someone on TV Thursday night suggest that Congress consider reinstating the 55 mph speed limit on interstate highways.

• Keep your tires properly inflated. Doing so can add miles per gallon. Estimates are that for each pound of pressure the tire is under inflated, you consume about one percent more fuel.

• Roll those windows up.Open windows at highway speeds cause air drag, reducing your mileage by 10 percent.

• Consolidate errands into one trip. This eliminates back tracking, thus reducing the number of miles you drive.

• Avoid “revving” the engine, especially just before you switch the engine off; this wastes fuel needlessly.

I guess that means no more drag racing.

Jerry Pittman is publisher of The Express-Star.

You can e-mail him

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