Friday, August 21, 2009

Turn Your August, Labor Day Weekend Road Trips Into Prize-Winning Drive Smarter Challenge Video

/PRNewswire/ -- It's the "dog days of August," one of the heaviest time frames for road trips - what with travel to universities across the country combined with the "last hurrah" of summer vacations leading into the Labor Day holiday weekend.

As you capture those road trips for posterity on your camcorder, consider turning them into a fun, two-minute video that can garner extensive exposure on the web and win a $5000 grand prize, VIP NASCAR and Indy race packages, new tires, gift cards, car care guides, and more in the Drive Smarter Challenge video contest (

The online video contest is a new feature of the award-winning Drive $marter Challenge fuel-efficiency campaign sponsored by the Alliance to Save Energy and 16 other diverse nonprofit, governmental, trade association, and for-profit partners. The contest runs through September 20.

To enter, submit a two-minute (or less) video that illustrates one or more of the Drive Smarter Challenge gas- and money-saving driving and vehicle maintenance tips ( such as the timely road trip tips below:

Planning your road trip:
-- Get a customized map with low gas prices along the route. Getting lost
while driving in unfamiliar areas could lead to an expensive waste of
gas. Print a customized vacation map that highlights low-cost gas
stations along your route using campaign website resources
ources.aspx). Or, navigate with a GPS system.
-- Choose the right vehicle. If your family has more than one vehicle,
drive the car that gets better gas mileage if possible.
-- Rise and shine! When possible, drive during off-peak hours to reduce
gas costs and stress by avoiding stop-and-go or bumper-to-bumper
traffic conditions.
-- Investigate other travel options. Consider trains, buses, or public
transportation to your destination when possible.
-- Explore new ways to get around at your destination. Find information
on biking, public transportation routes, car sharing, walking, and
renting hybrid or fuel-efficient vehicles on the Drive $marter
Challenge website resources page.

Before you leave: maintenance tips
-- Inflate your tires. Keeping your tires properly inflated improves gas
mileage by around 3%.
-- Select the right oil. Using the manufacturer's recommended grade of
motor oil improves gas mileage by 1 to 2%. Motor oil that says "Energy
Conserving" on the API performance symbol contains friction-reducing
additives. Change your oil as recommended to extend the life of your
-- Tune up. Fixing a car that is noticeably out of tune or has failed an
emissions test can improve its gas mileage by an average of 4%.

On the road: driving tips
-- Decrease your speed. Gas mileage usually decreases rapidly above 60
mph. Each five miles per hour over 60 mph is like paying an additional
20 cents or more per gallon for gas.
-- Drive sensibly. Speeding, rapid acceleration (jackrabbit starts), and
rapid braking can lower gas mileage by 33% at highway speeds.
-- Use cruise control and overdrive gear. Cruise control cuts fuel
consumption by maintaining a steady speed during highway driving.
Overdrive gear, when appropriate, reduces engine speed, saves gas, and
reduces engine wear.
-- It's a "drag." Avoid carrying items on your vehicle's roof. A loaded
roof rack or carrier increases weight and aerodynamic drag, which can
cut mileage by 5%. Place items inside the trunk when possible to
improve fuel economy.
-- Turn down the AC. Operating the air conditioner on "Max" can reduce
mpg by 5-25% compared to not using it.
-- Avoid idling, which gets 0 mpg. Cars with larger engines typically
waste even more gas while idling than cars with smaller engines.
-- Fill up before returning rental. Rental car companies charge higher
gas prices if you don't fill up the tank before returning the vehicle.

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