By JERRY EDGERTON
(CBS) - If you live in a state hit by this winter's extreme weather, you already know how miserable it is to drive on snow and ice. But to makes things worse, the cold weather is likely cutting your car's gas mileage and boosting your bill for gasoline.
When the temperature is at 20 degrees, conventional gas engines get 12 percent lower gas mileage on short trips than in warm weather of 77 degrees, according to a study done at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory. With hybrids, mileage can be cut by over 30 percent. These results came from applying different temperatures to the EPA test procedure that measures estimated MPG for the government web site fueleconomy.gov.
The cold weather affects your mileage partly because cold engine oil and other fluids increase friction in the engine. And it takes longer for the engine to reach its most fuel efficient temperature, which especially cuts the mileage on short trips. In hybrids, the cold weather affects battery performance, meaning that you need to use the auxiliary gasoline engine more often.
But you can minimize this drain on gas and your wallet by taking some simple steps to help increase your gas mileage. Here are five mileage-boosting habits recommended by the scientists at Oak Ridge National Lab:
This cold winter is probably boosting your home heating bill. At least by taking some preventive action you can keep your gasoline costs from soaring as well.