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    Maximizing Fuel Economy

    Saving fuel is always a major concern for anyone driving a car, both from an economical point of view and as a way to help protect the environment. In order to help you save a bit more during your holidays, here are some of our tips for saving fuel.

    Rent small - It's a good rule of thumb to always rent the smallest car that will get the job done, since smaller cars tend to consume less fuel than larger vehicles. This should, of course, be done within reason, i.e., don't try to fit five adults inside a mini.

    Consider whether you need to use AC - From a fuel perspective (from a practical perspective you might wish to use AC when driving in the Costa del Sol in the summer regardless of fuel considerations...), the use of air conditioning DOES increase your fuel consumption. However, opening the windows increases fuel consumption as well, since it increases drag. So which should you choose? The show MythBusters Revisited (Season 3, episode 38) tested both theories and concluded that below 55 mph keeping the windows open is more economical than using AC, but above 55 mph the reverse is true.

    Travel light - Pack only as much as you will need and not a sock more. The more loaded the car is, the more fuel it will consume, so packing conservatively is a must. A good trick is to make a list of all the things you will need, and then cut it down in half to the bare essentials.

    Slow down, speed up - When you drive over a certain threshold (which for most cars is around 55-60 mph), you are using up more fuel than necessary. Likewise, having to constantly brake or stop in traffic jams will also make you waste fuel. Ideally, you want to maintain a constant cruise speed no higher than 55-60 mph for maximum fuel efficiency.

    Plan ahead - You want to avoid excessive braking or accelerating as much as possible, and the way to do this is to keep an eye out for any upcoming changes in the road (bends, traffic lights, etc.). That way, you can anticipate obstacles and moderate your speed accordingly. You should also signal when you're preparing to turn, which will inform other drivers of your intentions so that they too can plan their moves ahead.

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