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Few Accept Tune Up, Slow Down Advice 5.10.2006

By Nick Colin

RIO GRANDE – Gas prices could be rising faster than the temperature this summer and fuel economy is on the minds of many.
 U.S. Senate Majority Leader Sen. Bill Frist (R-Tenn), in addition to his short-lived $100- per-taxpayer gasoline rebate proposal, had advised voters to “drive slow and get a tune-up.”
A tune-up will enhance a vehicle’s performance and save a few cents on gas, but motorists don’t seem to be rushing to have it done, according to some local auto repair shops.
Wade Gilbert, of Mossbrooks Tire and Auto Repair in Court House, said it’s hard to know if there has been an increase in tune-ups.
“It definitely helps a car that isn’t firing on all cylinders or has a dirty air or gas filter if you can afford it,” he said.
 “People aren’t spending money on tune-ups because they’re concerned with filling their gas tanks,” said John’s Auto Body Service Manager John Snyder, of Villas.
He estimated that the average tune-up, which includes replacing the gas filter, pvc valve, spark plugs, and in some cases the cap and rotar, costs about $400.
Service Manager Michael Prettyman of Burke Motor Group, in Court House, recommended keeping an adequate amount of air in a vehicle’s tires.
“A vehicle can loss up to two pounds of air pressure in cold weather and even more in warm weather,” he said.
The Web site www.fueleconomy.gov says keeping the proper amount of air in tires can increase fuel efficiency by 10 percent. It also says gas mileage usually decreases rapidly at speeds above 60 miles and hour, costing an estimated 20 cents per gallon for each five miles over.
But are local motorists slowing down?
“I tried everything from driving slow to keeping my car well maintained and it doesn’t make a whole lot of difference,” said Ron Golden of West Wildwood, while getting $10 regular at U.S. Gas here.
Andrew Shoemaker of Avalon agreed that slowing down seemed to make little difference.
“I look for the cheapest gas, which seems to be U.S. Gas and Wawa, and car pool whenever possible,” he said.
On May 5, U.S. Gas was charging $2.78 per gallon, 13 cents lower than the country average of $2.91.
Contact Colin at: (609) 886-8600 ext. 35 or ncolin@cmcherald.com

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