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AAA: Changing these driving habits can save gas

Speed, cargo weight, and even where the car is parked are all factors in the mileage and fuel economy.

HARTFORD, Conn. — Gas prices in Connecticut are reaching the $5 mark, and that's causing dread for the next trip to the pump.

There are some tips from AAA that can help drivers stretch their dollar and their gas in the tank. Some of it comes down to the habits of the driver, according to Tracy Noble with AAA. Those small habits are all factors that go into the overall fuel mileage.

RELATED: Connecticut locals react to gas prices hitting a record high

Here are some ways to increase the mileage of your tank:

Slow down and drive at the speed limit, or even below when possible. not only is it safer, but it can also increase your fuel mileage by about 14%. Mileage decreases at speeds above 50 miles per hour, according to the U.S. Department of Energy.

Give cruise control a try; It can help drivers maintain a constant speed.

Avoid hard accelerations; vehicles use the most energy to accelerate, the Dept. of Energy said. Picking up speed and braking gradually can improve your vehicle's fuel economy.

Avoid prolonged idling; If the car is going to be parked for more than a minute, it's worth turning the engine off before getting back on the road.

Park in the shade on hot days when possible; it'll take less air conditioning to cool down the car, AAA said.

Lighten the load in your car. Check the back seats and the trunk; all the extra cargo you're not using takes more fuel to carry around. This includes roof racks and special carriers on the car's exterior. An extra 100 lbs in the trunk could reduce fuel economy by about 1%, according to fueleconomy.gov.

RELATED: Average gallon of gas now $5, GasBuddy finds

Many gas stations and even grocery stores have rewards plans to help people save gas. Here are just a few we found:

  • Exxon Mobil has a rewards program where participants earn points with each fill-up. AARP members can save more by linking it to the gas account.
  • Shell's Fuel Rewards program allows participants to earn cents off the gallon with certain everyday purchases.
  • Stop & Shop shoppers can use Go Rewards to earn points to redeem at their gas stations or participating Shell gas stations.
  • Big Y shoppers can earn points for gas savings during their grocery shopping trip and use at any of their gas stations.
  • Cumberland Farms allows app users to save on gas and food at its gas stations and stores.

There are a few places to check for the lowest gas prices in your area.

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Leah Myers is a digital content producer at FOX61 News. She can be reached at lmyers@fox61.com

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