Nowadays, perhaps more than ever, maximizing your car's gas mileage is vital—practically, economically and environmentally.

As you probably know, gas isn’t cheap. Volatile oil markets, speculation, new sources of petroleum, and different views on competing pipelines all contribute to the up-and-down prices of the gasoline you put into your car or truck. You could purchase a hybrid or electric car, although many folks are waiting until “green” tech becomes more affordable, and thus more practical.

If you want to keep the vehicle you own now, but improve your gas mileages some, here are five suggestions to help you get the most out of every drop of gasoline you buy:

Declutter Your Car

You know that show 'Hoarders'? Well, that applies to your car as well. Remove the junk from your car that you don’t need. By getting rid of the extra pounds (not tonnage, hopefully), you’ll save on the gas you would have burned hauling around all that unnecessary weight.

Measure Your Tire Pressure

Tires that aren’t properly inflated require more energy to roll across the pavement or the dirt. If you check your tire pressure regularly (once a month) with a simple tire gauge, you’ll be able to ensure that your tires have all the air they need. Tires inflated to the correct levels will help you save money down the road.

Clean Your Air Filter

Clean that sucker out. By keeping your air filter clean and replacing it when needed, you should be able to save quite a few pennies on every gallon of gas you purchase. A little effort with your air filter now will pay off at the pump, helping to keep your car running at optimal performance levels.

Keep the Car Moving Smooth and Steady

While slamming your foot on the accelerator and brake every time you start and stop might be a lot of (dangerous) fun, it doesn't help the gas bill. It actually wreaks havoc on your fuel-consumption levels. Drive smoothly, and ease your car in and out of different driving conditions. Your wallet, and your vehicle will thank you later.

Drive Slower

A cousin of driving smoothly is driving slower. We’re not talking about a snail’s pace here. Even if you only drop your speed by a couple of miles per hour on the highway, you could wind up saving several percentage points on your gas mileage. Our need for speed can be addictive, but it ends up costing us plenty of cash every time we fill the tank.

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