The 6 Easiest Ways to Save Gas and Cut Emissions

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Save money at the pump!

Robert Kradin/AP

The 6 Easiest Ways to Save Gas and Cut Emissions

Okay, so you don't have enough dough to buy a hybrid. That doesn't mean you should give up on greening your driving habits.

About a year ago, Consumer Reports ran a piece about how to save money and gas. It's full of good advice on saving money at the pump (especially for people who were feeling the pinch from the record gas prices we saw back then).

But guess what? Saving money on gas means using less gas. And using less gas means

So here are the six easiest ways you can improve your gas mileage and save big bucks at the pump, according to Consumer Reports.

1. Drive at a moderate speed

Not too fast, not too slow. The optimal speed for most sedans is around 55 mph. Which means you may have to take it slower than usual on the highway, and perhaps put up with rowdy teenagers honking at you, calling you 'grandma,' and zipping off in their Roadster to go play mailbox baseball (or maybe my version of teenagers is culled strictly from the movie 'Stand by Me'). But they'll be paying at the pump, while you laugh all the way to the bank with your sweet, sweet gas savings.

2. Drive smooth

Gradual acceleration and easy braking uses less gas. That's just the way it is. It's science.

3. Keep the engine warm

Cooler engines create more pollution and burn more gas, so combine your short trips into one longer one if you can

4. Don't buy premium gas

Unless your car requires that you do. Otherwise, how hard is it not to pay 20 cents more? And CR's studies show that the difference in performance is "imperceptible."

5. Take off that ski rack

And remove anything else on your car that creates unnecessary drag. Extra drag = extra gas burnt up. At highway speeds, CR found that 50 percent of engine power goes to overcoming drag which means you stand to save a lot of gas if you keep your car streamlined.

6. Keep your tires inflated

Come on, it's super easy. Just fill those tires up with air when you stop at the gas station, and you'll gain around 1.3 mpg on the highway