IRVINE, Calif. --- Drivers are often encouraged to improve their vehicle's fuel economy by reducing air conditioning use, changing filters regularly, checking tire pressure, having fuel injectors cleaned and using a fuel additive to increase engine performance. But how likely are consumers to actually use any of these gas-saving tips to help save money? According to a recent Kelley Blue Book marketing research study on fuel economy, nearly six out of 10 consumers said they were likely to change their filters at scheduled intervals and/or check their tire pressure regularly to achieve greater fuel economy or save money. In addition, nearly seven out of 10 consumers (68 percent) believed that by performing some or all of the recommended gas-saving maintenance to their car, they would save up to $200 annually. "Gas prices have reached levels that are causing consumers to take steps they may not have when pump prices were more moderate to improve fuel economy and save a few dollars," said Jack Nerad, executive editorial director and executive market analyst for Kelley Blue Book's "If these consumers actually perform all of these gas-saving tips, it's likely they could save up to 15 or 20 percent of their entire fuel costs annually." However, only 23 percent said they would be willing to reduce air conditioning use. Even less popular options included having fuel injectors cleaned (17 percent), and using a fuel additive in each fill-up to increase engine performance (5 percent). More than a quarter of consumers (26 percent) said they would employ all of these recommended fuel-saving tips to achieve greater fuel economy or save money, and a contrasting 5 percent said they would do none. When thinking about their next new-vehicle purchase, 69 percent of consumers were likely to change the vehicle they drive in order to improve their fuel economy or money situation; 22 percent would buy a hybrid version of a vehicle they already have; 21 percent would take a step down in vehicle size; 14 percent said they would buy a vehicle with a smaller engine or an engine with less power; and 12 percent said they would buy a diesel vehicle. Thirty-one percent of consumers said they would not change their next vehicle to improve fuel economy. The Toyota Prius is in its second generation and approaching its fifth model year, and it continues to dominate the hybrid market. However, because the Prius doesn't necessarily fit every lifestyle, the editorial staff at Kelley Blue Book's put together a list of fuel-efficient favorites. "We certainly think there is an important place in the market for hybrid vehicles today and in the future," said Jack Nerad, executive editorial director and executive market analyst for Kelley Blue Book's "But today's market offers a wide variety of vehicles that both fill individuals' needs and provide better-than-average fuel efficiency, and this list includes our top choices." Here are Kelley Blue Book's top picks for fuel-efficiency, along with the editors' comments: ** In the small sedan category, the Honda Civic Hybrid. "The Honda Civic Hybrid is the Prius alternative with more mainstream styling, if not all the fuel economy." MPG is 40 in the city, 45 on highway. ** In the mid-size sedan category, the Nissan Altima Hybrid. "Beneath its sporty-sedan sheet metal, Nissan's Altima Hybrid uses licensed Toyota hybrid technology." MPG is 35 in the city, 33 on highway. ** In the luxury sedan category, the Mercedes-Benz E320 Bluetec. "Powered by a state-of-the-art clean diesel engine, the Mercedes-Benz E320 Bluetec is as powerful and smooth as you'd expect anything wearing a three-pointed star to be." MPG is 23 in the city, 32 on highway. ** In the compact pickup category, the Toyota Tacoma. "The Toyota Tacoma's bulletproof reputation for reliability is backed up by some of the category's best fuel economy." MPG is 20 in the city, 26 on highway. ** In the full-size pickup category, the Chevrolet Silverado/GMC Sierra. "GM's excellent new Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra are just about the most fuel-efficient full-size pickups out there." MPG is 15 in the city, 20 on highway. ** In the coupe category, the Audi TT. "The 2008 Audi TT deftly maximizes turbo power and efficiency in one fun and fuel-frugal coupe." MPG is 23 in the city, 31 on highway. ** In the small SUV category, the Ford Escape Hybrid. "Revamped for 2008, the Ford Escape Hybrid combines excellent mileage with SUV versatility." MPG is 31 in the city, 30 on highway. ** In the mid-size SUV category, the Toyota Highlander Hybrid. "The Highlander Hybrid is Toyota's only hybrid SUV, and the only one to boast a lineage that includes the revolutionary Prius." MPG is 28 in the city, 25 on highway. ** In the large SUV category, the GMC Acadia. "With more total cargo volume than the brand's own Yukon, the three-row GMC Acadia delivers everything most families require from a traditional full-size SUV but with significantly better mileage." MPG is 16 in the city, 24 on highway. ** In the convertible category, the Convertible Mazda MX-5. "Some of the same characteristics that make the small and lightweight Mazda MX-5 one of the purest driver's cars of all time help make it a joy at the gas pump, too." MPG is 22 in the city, 27 on highway. ** In the minivan category, the Honda Odyssey. "What some consider the best minivan available, the Honda Odyssey also delivers the best mileage. Under light loads, the Odyssey can cruise on just three of its six cylinders." MPG is 17 in the city, 24 on highway. ** In the hatchback category, the MINI Cooper. "A secret weapon in the fight against fuel prices, the extremely fun MINI Cooper delivers highway mileage of up to 36 MPG." MPG is 27 in the city, 36 on highway. ** In the wagon category, the Toyota Matrix/Pontiac Vibe. "The Toyota Matrix and Pontiac Vibe cousins are small but tall wagons that have been delivering outstanding fuel economy since the 2003 model year." MPG is 26 in the city, 33 on highway. All fuel economy figures reflect the new-for-2008 model year guidelines, per

Originally posted on Fleet Financials