It is getting more expensive to drive these days. Drivers are searching for ways to improve on fuel efficiency and are even changing their behaviors while on the road to do so.

According to a recent AAA study, the costs of owning and operating a vehicle increased nearly 2 percent on average over the last year, placing an even greater emphasis on fuel efficient vehicles.

“Whether you’re looking to go green for the sake of the planet or for the sake of your pocketbook, you’re in luck,” Andrew Stoy, digital editor for the Autoweek Media Group, told the Racquette. “Federally mandated efficiency standards are becoming more stringent.”

By 2025, the U.S. Government is requiring that new cars out of production receive at least 54.5 miles per gallon.

Until cars start driving themselves and getting more miles to the gallon, there are still things you can do to improve fuel efficiency on the automobile you are currently driving. The easiest way to improve a car's fuel mileage is to take it into to a local repair shop, which are generally cheaper than auto dealerships, for a full service check, preventing future damage, and increasing fuel economy.

A car's engine works overtime when the fuel or filter has not been changed, significantly reducing the fuel efficiency, not to mention the more serious problems this could lead to. Using the proper oil is also crucial to maintaining your engine and getting the most out of the gasoline you put into your car. The Department of Energy suggests using motor oil with the energy conservation designation, as it contains friction-reducing additives that will save you money at the pump.

According to the market research firm Penn Schoen, more Americans are willing to pay up front for fuel savings that will come later, and they are even adjusting the way in which they drive to increase their fuel efficiency.

The study showed that drivers are changing their behaviors on the road by slowing down, coasting to stops more, and even drafting behind larger vehicles to save on fuel & emissions. Of the respondents in the survey, 25 percent said that if they had $1,000 in discretionary income to spend on energy savings they would buy a hybrid vehicle.