Weekly auto rail, with truck gas tips, Car Q&A with Junior Damato and more.

Tip of the Week

If your family has started to rethink your travels because of fuel prices, you may be looking for ways to save a few dollars at the gas pump when you fill up your truck. And if purchasing a new, more fuel-efficient truck isn't an option for your family, here are some ways you can save gas money now.

- Fuel choice: The first place to start saving is at the pump. Choose the fuel with the lowest octane level possible for your vehicle. Passing on pricey premium gasoline could save you hundreds of dollars a year, according to the Car Care Council, while using it won't boost your truck's performance. Once your tank is filled, make sure you tighten your gas cap to prevent fuel from evaporating. Loose, missing or damaged gas caps cause 147 million gallons of gasoline to evaporate each year, according to the CCC.

- Driving style: If you like to get up to speed quickly and slow down at the last minute for a stop light or sign, you're likely burning extra fuel. Instead, stop and start gently, use cruise control when possible, and reduce the amount of trips you make each day.

- Reduce drag: Smooth out the aerodynamics of your truck with a truck bed cover or a tonneau cover.

- Maintenance: Checking and changing your oil is one of the most overlooked maintenance items, according to most auto body technicians. Oil is responsible for reducing wear caused by friction between moving parts in your truck's engine. It also helps to remove harmful substances from the engine. But if your oil isn't clean, it can't do its job appropriately. Also make sure the oil, air and fuel filters are clean as well. Once you're finished checking your truck's engine components, check your tires to see if they have the proper air pressure as recommended by your truck manufacturer. Proper inflation can improve your gas mileage by up to 3 percent.

- ARA

The List

According to CNNMoney, here are the best road-trip cars:

- Fiat 500
- Scion xB
- Ford Mustang
- Nissan Quest
- Infiniti G37 convertible
- Audi A8
- Maserati Gran Turismo Cabriolet
- Bentley Mulsanne

Did You Know

The national gas average was more than $1 higher this Memorial Day weekend than it was last year, but more people hit the road for trips of 50 miles or more, according to AAA.

Car Q&A

Q: I have a 2005 Subaru WRX STI. I got it used in 2007 … with 36,000 miles. It has 82,000 miles on it now, and for the past year or so the steering tends to cut out on me often. I noticed it happens more on turns where I’m either accelerating or when there are bumps.

A: A loose power steering belt would not cause this problem. I would look at both front axle joints, especially the outboard joints. The possibility of a ball joint or steering rack would be low on my list. Have the technician remove both front axles and check the axle joints, especially the outer joints.

- Junior Damato, Talking Cars columnist

GateHouse News Service