Crude oil closed on world markets at new record high prices today, largely over fears that tropical storms headed toward Florida might disable oil-drilling platforms in the Gulf of Mexico. A vocational automotive instructor says there are things you can do to make your car more efficient. Jerry Burns is teaching tomorrow’s mechanics who’ll work on your car, and tune it up. The harder you’re working that engine, the higher the R-P-M, he says the more fuel you’re going to burn. Burns says a lot of people also wonder if it’s economical to let the cruise control keep your car going at a steady speed on a long trip. He says if you tend to slow down and speed up while you’re driving, it’s better to let the auto-pilot do it. For a driver who’s not consistent with their vehicle speed, he says cruise is actually a pretty good thing. “It is actually true that you can get a little better fuel mileage just by trying to keep the vehicle speed constant.” He says investing in a tune-up has never been a better idea. Change spark plugs on a regular basis, he advises, and get air filters checked. Any maintenance items that will help your engine run better will pay off in improved mileage and performance. Burns is an automotive instructor at Des Moines Area Community College in Ankeny.