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Vehicle Maintenance Are Keys to Reducing Gas Bills

ROANOKE, Va.--Sept. 29, 2005--With the high cost of gas, drivers can use planning and common sense to squeeze a few more miles out of a gallon of gas, and reduce the flow of money going from their wallet to the gas pump.

It begins with taking care of your vehicle. A simple tune up can increase fuel mileage significantly, according to Bryan Gregory, director of consumer education for Advance Auto Parts .

"Start with the air filter and oxygen sensor," Gregory said. "Inside an engine, it takes 10,000 gallons of air to combust one gallon of gas. If either part is in need of replacement, fuel mileage declines significantly."

Vehicle maintenance should always be a priority, but some of the most important factors in reducing fuel consumption depend solely on the driver.

"You definitely want to avoid idling when possible because you get zero miles to the gallon when sitting still," Gregory said. "Be sensible about how long you warm up the car. For most cars and trucks, 30 to 45 seconds of warm-up time is sufficient."

To reduce idling, plan trips to avoid high-volume traffic, whether it's by eliminating rush hour commutes or going to the drive-through window before or after peak meal times, Gregory added. Reducing a vehicle's load by eliminating excess cargo, such as extra tires, equipment, bike or ski racks, saves gas because every 200 pounds of extra weight in a vehicle reduces fuel mileage by one mile per gallon.

Turn off the air conditioning and you've just increased fuel mileage 5 to 10 percent.

"A bad habit that's dangerous and robs fuel mileage is tailgating," Gregory said. "It can reduce fuel mileage by nearly 10 percent because of needless braking and acceleration. Nearly half the energy needed to power a vehicle goes into acceleration. Accelerate slowly, particularly from a dead stop, to enhance fuel economy."

To make slow starts a habit and avoid punching the gas pedal, Gregory recommends imagining an egg underneath the accelerator pedal. "That's the method multiple Indy 500 winner Jackie Stewart said he used to win so many races," Gregory explained.

And taking another tip from the world of auto racing, Gregory recommends checking tire inflation pressures. "Tire air pressure is critical," Gregory said. "It's why NASCAR teams spend so much time adjusting the air pressure. Every pound per square inch that a tire is underinflated results in a six percent loss in fuel efficiency. Tires that are properly inflated create the least amount of rolling resistance, and lead to a safer vehicle through improved handling."

Advance Auto Parts and its well-trained, knowledgeable Team Members can help customers with all of the parts and products needed to perform gas-saving do-it-yourself projects. ASE-certified experts and the company's consumer education program, featuring free instructional brochures and video clinics available in stores and at, show customers how to save money and increase vehicle efficiency by repairing and replacing various vehicle systems, fluids, and parts themselves.

Advance Auto Parts, Inc. is based in Roanoke, Va., and is a leading retailer of automotive parts, batteries, accessories and maintenance items. In 2005, Forbes magazine named Advance the best managed company in America for the retail sector. As of July 16, 2005, the Company operated 2,708 stores in 40 states, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands. The Company serves both the do-it-yourself and professional installer markets. Additional information about the Company, employment opportunities, customer services, and on-line shopping for parts and accessories can be found on the Company's web site at