With prices at the pump on the rise, consumers across America are wise to learn how to save money on gas. While some of the suggestions may seem simple, combining a few of these money-saving tips can add up to a tidy sum.
According to Edmunds, just changing your driving habits and using and maintaining your car properly can result in fuel economy improvement of up to 38 percent. Naturally, this depends on what type of vehicle you drive and how you drive it.
Change Driving Habits
Yes, changing how we drive does take a bit of doing, but when the behavior results in dollar savings, it’s probably worth it.
- Try to drive in a relaxed manner – all the time. This means allowing yourself the time to get where you need to go so that you’re not rushing around frantically trying to keep to a schedule you are already behind on.
- Be sure to drive the posted speed limit. When you exceed the speed limit, you’re using more gas than you need to – and that adds up in extra fuel costs.
- Avoid aggressive driving: jack-rabbit starts, speeding, accelerating quickly and quick braking. These all waste gas, both on the highway and in and around town.
- Use cruise control whenever possible. It helps conserve gas by maintaining your car’s consistent speed.
- Don’t follow too closely. While you might be tempted to do this to avoid another driver cutting in front of you, you’ll need to be on and off the gas pedal constantly. And, when you have to speed up to get around a slowpoke in front of you, you’ll be wasting a lot more gas.
- Forget idling your car. Keeping your car running for longer than 30 seconds will use more gas than starting it up again.
Use Proper Vehicle Maintenance
Just paying attention to a few maintenance items will boost your car’s fuel efficiency.
- Check your vehicle’s owner’s manual. It lists the maintenance required for your car. Don’t just look at it, though. Do what’s needed at the appropriate intervals.
- Keep tires inflated to the pressure recommended by the manufacturer. This technique can increase your car’s gas mileage by three percent. Looking at it in the reverse: underinflated tires cause you to lose fuel economy by about the same amount or more.
- Only use “Energy Conserving” or synthetic motor oil, which reduces friction – and increases fuel economy.
- Make sure to check and replace dirty air filters. Clogged ones decrease your gas mileage by up to 10 percent.
Plan Out Trips
It’s not all that tough to make a schedule – even if it’s in your head. It’s how to save money on gas that you’re after – as well as peace of mind.
- When you plan out your trips and combine errands and stops, you maximize fuel efficiency.
- Remove excess weight from the car. All that accumulated stuff in the back seat and trunk adds weight to the vehicle – and costs you in gas. Think this doesn’t matter? Experts, including CarMax, say that every additional 100 pounds reduces fuel economy by about five percent.
- The best time to fill up is in the morning when the air is cooler. Why is that? In the morning, gas is cooler and more dense. Since gasoline is measured in volumes, and not density, filling up in the a.m. means you get more gas for your money.
- Get rid of excess wind resistance by taking down roof luggage and carrier racks – and increase fuel economy by about five percent.
- Keep the windows closed and use the air conditioner when traveling at highway speed. Open windows create increased drag – and use more fuel.