The cost of vehicle ownership is increasing and now more than ever, it's important to find ways to stretch your fuel budget. Here are some tips on how to stretch your driving dollar:

• Drive smoothly, avoiding heavy acceleration or braking. Speeding, rapid acceleration and braking can lower your gasoline mileage by 5 percent at lower speeds around town and by 33 percent at higher highway speeds.

• Replace dirty or clogged air filters. Replacing a dirty or clogged air filter with a clean one can improve gasoline mileage by as much as 10 percent. Your car's air filter can protect your engine from impurities.

• Keep your engine well-tuned and repair any problems immediately. If your car has failed an emissions test or is noticeably out of tune, repairing the problem could improve your gasoline mileage by 4 percent on average.

• Make sure your tires are at the correct pressure and not over or under inflated. Proper air pressure cuts down on fuel used while driving. Keeping tires at the correct pressure can improve your gasoline mileage by about 3.3 percent.

• Minimize vehicle drag. Keep your trunk and back seat clear of unnecessary items that only add weight. Removing excess weight can improve your gasoline mileage.

• Use cruise control on major roads and in free-flowing traffic. Maintaining a constant speed can improve gasoline mileage.

• Avoid idling. When you idle, you get 0 miles per gallon.

• Avoid higher speeds. Gasoline mileage usually decreases when driving at speeds over 60 mph.

• Plan your outings to avoid separate trips. Combine your errands into one outing to avoid short separate trips. This helps avoid unnecessary cold starts and keeps your car's engine running warm and more efficiently.

With these simple tips, you can look forward to seeing a real increase in your mileage.