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Pocatello pump prices prompt penny-pinching

With every card swiped, every button pressed and every gallon pumped, we and our wallet hurt.

As we kick off Labor Day weekend, we can’t help but think about that labor for your wallet, especially since Idaho’s gas prices are some of the highest in the nation. So how can you make the most of your money at the pump?

“Make sure that the alignment on the vehicle is correct,” said Wade Wellard, internet director and previous parts and service director at Pocatello’s Robert Allen Nissan Kia. “If the tires are out of alignment it takes a lot more energy for the vehicle to roll.”

Wellard says it’s important to follow the maintenance instructions for your car, and keep on top of your air filter status as well.

“If an engine is not breathing easily it takes more energy to operate it,” Wellard said.

Under-inflated tires may be another reason you’re not getting the best possible gas mileage. It’s also important to remember during the winter months your tires are already losing pressure because of the cold weather.

Some gas stations offer additives that can help keep your engine clean. Also, be on the lookout for deals. With the free Fred Meyer Rewards program you can get three cents off a gallon, and as you accumulate points, you can get up to a dollar off. Maverick offers two cents with their rewards card, and Common Cents has deals as well.

Wellard also says his investment in a hybrid paid off.

“I was able to reduce my consumption over the vehicle I was driving before – enough to make my car payment,” he said. “When you’re knocking down 40 to 42 miles per gallon in a little bit larger car, anything that’s fuel-sipping helps.”

Just checking your tires won’t effect your gas mileage much, so Wellard says it’s the combination that’s key.

“A lot of these items can only add two or three percent [to your gas mileage],” said Wellard. “But you add enough two or three percents and it makes a huge difference in your gas bill each month.”

The way you drive also effects your gas mileage. Wellard says pressing too hard on the accelerator could cost you some precious MPGs. Coasting in your vehicle also helps reduce the amount of fuel you use.

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