CINCINNATI, Oh. (January 29, 2019) – As the region braces for another week of dangerously cold temperatures, AAA is reminding motorists not to forget to fill up their gas tank while preparing for the frigid weather.
“One of the common misconceptions is that gas will freeze as temperatures drop,” says automotive expert, Bobby Drake, AAA | Bob Sumerel Tire and Auto. “However, the likelihood of that happening is low due to winter gas blends and vehicles being built in the last ten years with plastic fuel lines.”
In recent decades, automakers have made significant advances in improving the overall energy efficiency of vehicles. One of the improvements was developing a winter-blend gas formula to assist motorists during the winter driving season.
Winter-blend fuel has a higher RVP (Reid Vapor Pressure) because the fuel must be able to evaporate at low temperatures for the engine to operate properly, especially when the engine is cold. If the RVP is too low on a frigid day, the vehicle will be hard to start and once started, will run rough.
“Motorists should always keep their gas tank at least half-full during the winter,” continues Drake. “Other vehicle issues such as dead batteries and car tires can cause a driver to be stranded and gas will help keep the car warm while waiting for assistance.”
The current average price for regular gas in Ohio is $2.03 per gallon. The current average price for regular gas in Kentucky is $2.05 per gallon.
AAA offers these additional tips to prepare for extreme colder temperatures:
- Protect vehicle: If possible park car inside a garage or under a cover like a carport.
- Start your vehicle each night: This is especially key if the vehicle has been sitting idle for a period of time. Cold weather strains a vehicle battery’s ability to function. According to AAA’s Automotive Research Center, at 32 degrees Fahrenheit, a vehicle’s battery loses 35 percent of its strength, and at zero degrees Fahrenheit, it loses a whopping 60 percent of its strength. Start the vehicle tonight for at least 5-10 minutes to keep the battery charged.
- Check your tires: Tires must have a tread of 6/32 inches or more to handle snow safely. Be aware of your tire-pressure light as well. Tire pressure will decrease about one pound per square inch (psi) for every 10 degrees Fahrenheit that the outside air temperature drops. Low air pressure can reduce your fuel economy, create greater stopping distance, increase tire wear and tear, and even potentially cause a tire blowout.
- Dry and lubricate surfaces: Wipe down and dry weather strips and surfaces around doors and windows. Apply a lubricant (WD40, cooking spray and even Vaseline work well) to the weather stripping to prevent freezing.
- Windshield wipers: Pull wipers away from your windshield to prevent them from freezing to the windshield.
- Don’t idle a cold engine for an extended time. Cars today can be safely driven almost immediately after starting. Doing so speeds the warm-up process, reduces exhaust emissions and saves fuel. Just remember to avoid hard acceleration until the engine reaches operating temperature.
- Emergency roadside kit: Keep a kit stocked with a fully charged cellphone and charger, snow/ice scraper, blanket, extra gloves, hats, flares or brightly colored hazard triangle, shovel, de-icer, kitty litter or sand and non-perishable snacks.
- Check your AAA membership status: Before you need service is the best time to check that you have service. Make sure your membership is up-to-date and the selected service level matches your lifestyle needs. AAA has varying levels of membership to fit every budget and lifestyle.
AAA provides automotive, travel, and insurance services to 59 million members nationwide and more than three million members in Ohio. AAA advocates for the safety and mobility of its members and has been committed to outstanding road service for more than 100 years. AAA is a non-stock, non-profit corporation working on behalf of motorists, who can now map a route, find local gas prices, discover discounts, book a hotel, and track their roadside assistance service with the AAA Mobile app (AAA.com/mobile) for iPhone, iPad and Android. For more information, visit www.AAA.com