The coming of summer means a lot more people on the road and a lot more miles driven. Gas prices also usually go up at the beginning of the summer because of increased demand. To save money on gas, you need your car to run as efficiently as possible. Here are some tips to improve your summer fuel economy.

Limit your “air” time

Few things put a drag on your fuel economy like running your car’s air conditioner. It takes a lot of energy to run your A/C, which means your car uses more gas. Though it can be difficult to avoid running your air conditioner altogether during the summer months, you need to limit its use as much as possible. When you are driving in the city, crack your windows to cool off. However, when you are driving on the highway, you actually save gas by running your A/C, because having the windows open creates drag that lowers your fuel economy. If you are going to run the A/C, crack your windows first for a couple of minutes to let out hot air. This will allow your A/C to work more efficiently. Also make sure to park your car out of direct sunlight, either in a garage or in the shade. That will prevent your car’s interior from overheating, which makes your air conditioner have to work harder to cool it off.

Check your tires

Though your tires won’t lose air pressure in the summer like they do in the winter, you still need to check them periodically to make sure they are properly inflated. Hot pavement increases your risk of a tire blowout and having under-inflated tires increases this risk even more. In addition, under-inflated tires cause a drop in fuel efficiency. You also should have your tires rotated on schedule because overly worn tires also lower your fuel efficiency and are a blowout risk. You will also want to make sure that they are properly aligned to maximize fuel efficiency and reduce the amount of drag experienced by the car.

Don’t overload your Car

The summer is a time for bike riding, vacations and camping trips, which means your car may be tricked out to accommodate such excursions. If you’ve got a bike rack or luggage rack on your car, you should take it off after you are finished using it because such items create drag and lower your fuel economy. Likewise, if you have your trunk or the back of your SUV stuffed with luggage or camping equipment, remove it as soon as possible, because the extra weight will pull down your fuel efficiency.

Take the faster Route

When taking a trip by car, the shortest route may not always be the most fuel-efficient one. Since your car gets much better mileage at constant highway speeds, it can be better to go a little out of your way to take the Interstate system, rather than using a U.S. or state highway that might require you to slow down and even stop as you go through cities and towns.

Following these and other tips will help you save on your gas costs and put more money in your pocket you can put toward summer fun.