CHATTANOOGA (WRCB) - Pumping pains are fueling frustration for Chattanooga drivers, who continue to watch gas prices rise.

"It's a pain in the bottom," says Glen Shagena, while filling up in Red Bank.

"I just can't afford it," says Jack Casteel, who's already thinking about adjustments his family will have to make to afford fuel.

To help, the Consumer Federation of America is offering tips (CFA) on how to make a tank go the distance.

The group suggests drivers get a tune up.

Dale Robertson, service manager for Quality Tire on Cherokee Boulevard, says drivers who go cheap on car maintenance pay the price, twice.

"A properly tuned car takes less fuel to operate," he says.

In fact, you can save 8 cents a gallon with proper tune ups.

Next, slow down. By reducing your speed on the highway from 70 to 65 you can save 14 cents a gallon.

Third, check your air filter and tire alignment. If you're not getting enough air to your engine, it takes more fuel.

And if your tires aren't aligned, plan to pay.

"That causes a shovel effect," Robertson says. "Your engine does have to work harder to push the car along."

Both will save you 20 cents a gallon.

The CFA suggests driving smoothly.

"Stops and starts, you know don't burn the tires every time you take off," Robertson agrees.

His advice is worth 66 cents a gallon.

The number one way to save at the pump is to lay off the breaks. Riding with your foot on the brake can increase gas consumption by nearly 35 percent, but laying off the break can save you 70 cents per gallon.

There are other ways to save.

Check your gas cap. A missing or broken cap can cost you, but a well-working one can save you 1 cent per gallon.

For every 100 pounds of unneeded cargo you remove from your vehicle, you can save about 3 cents a gallon.

"If your car weighs more, it's going to take more fuel to operate it," Robertson says. "That's common sense."

Sense that can amount to dollars, and fewer trips to the pump.

The CFA says more than a quarter of vehicles are driving on deflated tires.

Pumping them up can save 6 cents a gallon.

Idling not only causes pollution, it wastes gas. You can save 1 cent per gallon for every three minutes you avoid it.

Click here for more from the Consumer Federation of America.


To find the cheapest prices at the pumps nearest you, visit the WRCB Fuel Finder.