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Get the Most from Your Gas Money by Taking Care of Your Car

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RALEIGH — It is unwelcome news: gas prices will not be coming down any time soon. In North Carolina, the average price of a gallon of unleaded gas is up 13 cents in just the last month.

While we cannot control prices at the pump, there are steps we can take to get farther on the price we pay.

Take a peek under the hood, starting with the oil.

"The thinner the viscosity when you first crank it, the easier it is going to run. The faster it's going to start, the better fuel mileage you're going to get," says mechanic Chet Nedwideck.

Bad spark plugs can also reduce fuel efficiency. Nedwideck suggests having them checked out and replaced every 20,000 miles. He says air filters should also be in good shape.

Low tire pressure can also eat up more fuel, but only check the pressure when the car is cold.

"The reason being, when you drive it and the tire gets warm, the air is going to expand. So when you check it, it's going to read at a higher pressure than it really is," says Nedwideck.

The cost of a tune-up can start at $50 and go up depending on what needs to be replaced.

Keeping a well-maintained car is an even better idea considering theDepartment of Energypredicts we could be paying between $1.75 and $1.80 for a gallon of unleaded gasoline this summer.