Simple, quick ways to save on gas ahead of holiday road trips

Many will hit the road during the holidays, and with gas prices a dollar higher than a year ago, we're helping you find ways to get the most bang for your buck.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – More than 100 million people will travel between Dec. 23 and Jan. 2 to visit family and loved ones for the holidays, according to AAA. Most will hit the road and with gas prices a dollar higher than a year ago, local mechanics are helping people find ways to get the most bang for their buck.

Aaron Nelson owns Aaron’s Car Care, Inc. in the Spring Park neighborhood and has seen a lot over the years. First things first, Nelson said making sure your air filter is clean will make a difference in fuel efficiency.

“You’ll get the cars that come in and it’d be full of leaves and all kind of debris and sand and what have you,” Nelson said. “All that’s doing is just like trying to jog with a mask on. It doesn’t work well! You’re suffocating yourself.”

Nelson also said you’ll want to make sure the air pressure on your tires is up to speed.

“You do that, you’re going to find that it’s not only going to help your tires last better,” Nelson said. “It’s going to increase your fuel mileage as well.”

According to AAA, the average gas price in Florida is $3.227. In Duval County, the average today stands at $3.198. Even though the numbers have dropped a little bit, saving on gas and protecting your car is something you need. Nelson also reminds people that simple changes to your driving habits can impact your fuel mileage too.

Nelson said driving on cruise control during a road trip goes a long way.

“Cruise control is probably one of the most overlooked things on the highway,” Nelson said. “If you can train yourself to use the cruise control, especially on the long trips, it is incredible how much better your fuel mileage is. Because you’re not off and on the throttle.”

Nelson said the way you drive -- in the long run -- can also help save.

“No snap accelerations,” Nelson said. “Coming from a stop, don’t floorboard it and try to catch up to the guy ahead of you. Just do a reasonable acceleration.”

Also, don’t be a packrat. Taking out the things you don’t need to take with you on your road trip can help with gas mileage as well, according to Nelson.

Nelson also said if you’re heading to a colder climate, again, check your tires to make sure they have enough tread. Also, check your antifreeze if you’re going up north.

About the Author:

Ashley Harding joined the Channel 4 news team in March 2013 and reports every weekday for The Morning Show.