Cleaning out the minivan before you visit the in-laws this weekend? Maybe trucking out to your country cousin's place to enjoy some sweet corn while watching the fireworks?
Needless to say, you're not alone. The American Automobile Association (AAA) estimates that about 33 million Americans will drive to their holiday destinations this weekend. Though gasoline prices have fallen noticeably in recent weeks, they're still close to their 2008 highs.
If you're concerned about the hit on your wallet as you prepare to hit the road, the I-95 Corridor Coalition (which includes PennDOT, the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission, and several other transportation agencies) has some tips you could find useful. Among them:
Slow down. Every 5 mph you drive over 60 mph is the same as paying an extra 24 cents per gallon of gas.
Use cruise control. Maintaining a constant speed can improve your fuel economy by up to 7 percent.
Inflate your tires. In addition to improving safety, driving on underinflated tires can add another 11 cents per gallon to your fuel bill.
Lighten your load. Go through your trunk and passenger area, and take out anything you don't absolutely need for the trip. An extra 100 pounds in the car reduces fuel economy by up to two percent.
Chill out. Aggressive driving, such as speeding, rapid acceleration and hard braking, can cut your fuel economy by a third. That's another $1.25 per gallon added to your bill for the weekend. A reckless driving citation costs even more.
The Coalition says that following all their tips can save drivers $80 on a 700-mile round trip. For more, visit the DVRPC's "Drive Green, Save Green" page.