High RPMs, low power, and sometimes can't accelerate. on 1997 Mercury Tracer

This car has given me no problems since I got it back in March of 09 other than the e-brake cables not working :( Now that it is freezing in Pittsburgh, I am experiencing a few problems and any and all suggestions are welcomed! The car starts fine but runs very very rough until it is driven for about 15-30 min. It sometimes does not want to accelerate although the RPMs are going up, and then I take my foot off the gas, sometimes have to put the car in reverse, and I can drive ok after that. This seems to be esspecially bad in VERY cold temperatures. Also, I cannot make it up any hills with a medium-large incline, although I have better luck making it if I have a momentum going without having to stop. This is also worse in colder temperatures. When going up a hill, the car slows down, I go maybe 3-5mph if that, and usually I have to stop and reverse to a place where I can turn around and find another way to get to my destination hill-free. As I drive, the RPMs will go up to about 4000, but I may only be going 25-35mph. I take my foot off the gas for a minute, The RPMs drop, then I'll get up to like, 40-50mph and the RPMs are back up to 4000-5000 again....and I continue to repeat that process. I have considered that possibly my tranny is going...but when it shifts, it seems to be doing so pretty smoothly. Perhaps that just me being naive though, hence my screenname :) Just some background: The car has 147000 miles, I am due for an oil change, Just added some tranny fluid about 2 weeks ago, I know I need a EGR gasket, and I have never changed the air filter since I got the car. Thanks for the help!!! It is much appreciated!

Asked by for the 1997 Mercury Tracer
1 answer
First place to start is here, you most surely have some Check Engine Light Codes for at least some of the problems, and get a new Air Filter ASAP by all means