With Airfare Costs Up 9.4%, Holiday Travelers Are Hitting the Road

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With airline tickets seeing a huge bump in prices, families are opting for road trips instead. Here are some tips to save fuel when driving this holiday season from UsaRim

wheels and tires

The Road to Better Fuel Economy Starts Here

Taking steps to make your family friendly vehicle more fuel efficient is particularly important during these longer trips where reduced fuel efficiency can mean hundreds of dollars wasted.

With the average price for a plane ticket up 9.4% in 2013, families are opting for road trips over air travel to visit loved ones this holiday season. Taking steps to make your family friendly vehicle more fuel efficient is particularly important during these longer trips where reduced fuel efficiency can mean hundreds of dollars wasted.

Becoming more fuel efficient begins by learning about changes to your vehicle that affect fuel consumption. Many drivers are surprised to learn the negative impact that certain vehicle modifications have on gas mileage. A recent study by the transportation research board measured the fuel efficiency of a 2013 GMC Suburban and among other things, found that replacing original-equipment wheels and tires with inappropriately sized ones reduced city and highway fuel economy by over 5 MPG. This reduction might seem trivial at first glance but consider this: that’s a difference of $773.60 for a round trip car ride from Los Angeles to New York.

In addition to determining the ideal wheel and tire size for your vehicle, here are three tips that will save you money at the pump during the holidays:

1) Take a deep breath and go with the flow: Powerful trucks, vans and SUVs with large engines guzzle fuel during start-and-stop traffic and during heavy acceleration. Keeping a safe following distance in the city and the highway doesn't just help prevent accidents, it also reduces engine use and fuel consumption. Another good idea is to treat the gas pedal like there is an egg underneath it and take your time reducing and increasing speed.

2) Aerodynamic improvements: Although aftermarket modifications are popular ways of personalizing your vehicle, adding that carbon fiber spoiler or flame hurling exhaust pipe can negatively impact fuel economy. Making sure that your vehicle is clean and removing any roof racks or cargo carriers will minimize the disruption of airflow that causes turbulence, making it difficult to maintain a speed without revving the engine.

3) Tossing what you don't need and reducing rolling weight: The equipment at the end of your vehicle's axle has a significant impact on how much fuel savings you can gain. For the 2013 Suburban mentioned earlier, engineers compared steel and alloy wheel load, revealing a 30 lbs. reduction in unsprung weight for the latter. If those terms seem overly technical, consider this: every pound of weight on your vehicle consumes extra fuel so reducing overall weight is essential to saving money on gas.

In addition to these steps, determining the right ride for your holiday road trip is important too. While trucks and SUVs offer more space to stretch during long hauls, there is a considerable fuel trade-off that might cancel out the roomier benefits. While these vehicles are more adept at handling uneven road surfaces and off-road terrain, most outings don't require this extra muscle and a smaller vehicle with more fuel saving benefits will usually do.

These are just a few tips to help Santa save for Play Station 4 and those hard to find Legos this season. Be sure to consult your vehicle manual and contact your local dealership for more great gas saving secrets too.

If you're looking to improve fuel economy or update the look of your vehicle this season, browse the largest selection of wheels and tires at UsaRim, the leading wheel and tire distributor online.

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