I heard on the radio that gas prices may be headed up again… Do they ever go down? Maybe I’m a goof, but in my short life – I’ve never seen gas drop in price like it rises. One day I’ll go out and gas has jumped 30 cents a gallon in less than 2 days – then if it goes down, it drops a cent. Go figure…
If you’re like me, you want to save money wherever you can. One of my largest budget items is fuel. I drive about 80 miles a day, to and from work – so I burn a good amount of gas in my car just getting to work and back. Because of this, I’ve been researching ways to save money on my mileage and hence – my bill at the gas pump.
If you own a hybrid, you’re already in great shape (my next car is going to be one) – but even Prius owners should benefit from these 10 easy tips. There are many more tips out there, but most are irrelevant to the majority of us except for these 15 no nonsense ideas…
1. Drive the speed limit (Crap!)
Yes I hate to bring this one up, but it is one the most efficient ways to save money on gas. Every 5 mph you go over 60 mph is essentially paying $0.26 more per gallon. How many of us “hard chargers” drive 75 or higher? We’re paying $0.52 more per gallon of gas than those driving the speed limit. Ouch!
2. Keep your tires inflated to the maximum limit
Tire pressure is probably one of the easiest ways to save money on gas that we sometimes forget. I seen this played out in my own driving by noticing my mpg average drop when my tires are low. Keeping your tires inflated properly will improve your gas mileage by 3.3%. It is also nice to drive a safer car.
3. Keep your car properly maintained
Want to improve your mileage by as much as 40%? All you need to do is maintain your vehicle properly. Average improvement is 4%, but according to fueleconomy.gov you are still easily saving $0.15 cents a gallon.
4. Roll the windows down on the highway, instead of using the air condition.
Myth Busters! According to consumer reports, rolling the windows down on the highway will not cause any measurable difference in the fuel economy, but running the air conditioner can cause a drop of up to 3 mpg. So go ahead, enjoy the fresh air!
5. Use the correct octane (could be lower than you think)
If you have a car that runs 93 octane, consider the effects of running 89. It will easily save you up to $0.20 a gallon and I’ve noticed no effects on my own engine performance and fuel mileage (in fact my mileage improved – odd.) Be sure to run it past your mechanic or dealer first – just to be safe.
6. Clean out your trunk (reduce weight – maybe go on a diet as well)
An easy way to lower gas mileage is to put junk in your trunk. So get rid of it! Reducing 100 lbs from your car increases your fuel efficiency by 2%.
7. Don’t slam the brakes & drop the pedal to the floor when accelerating
According to consumer reports this is the number #1 reason fuel efficiency drops in a vehicle. (up to 33% savings or $1.23 a gallon – wow) It is also the easiest to change as it is all behavioral. Drive a consistent speed and avoid fast acceleration to increase your fuel efficiency.
8. Don’t overfill your gas cap (happens to me all the time)
Use the gas nozzles auto stop feature when filling up… In other words, don’t top off. Many times this fuel evaporates or is exposed on the ground by a valve in your cars fuel line.
If you’re like me and the auto stop never works on your vehicle (I always have gas on the ground). Then manually stop the fuel when your tank is almost full.
9. Turn the car off and don’t let it idle too long.
Idling with the AC on can cost you up to $.04 a minute. My advice is to turn the car off if you plan to idle more than a minute. Examples are a train crossing or running into the house to grab your cell phone that you left behind.
10. Park driving forward, so that you can pull right out without using reverse.
This is one of my favorites, because it is rarely thought of. If you have the option to pull into a parking space and exit the space going forward – do it! It will save you gas money over time.
11. Avoid using the air conditioner when you can (but don’t pass out from heat stroke)
As I mentioned earlier, using the air conditioner can really eat into your gas mileage efficiency. In some reports I’ve read up to 20% fuel efficiency reduction. So avoid using it when possible. That being said – if you live in the south or southwest, don’t pass out from heat stroke.
12. Make sure you have a clean Air Filter in your Car
A new report shows that keeping a clean air filter in your car will save you 6% on average in fuel costs, and many times up to 14% if the air filter is really clogged. It will also increase your acceleration time by around 10%, so the ‘hard chargers’ will appreciate this advice.
13. Lose the Ski Rack Bro (or bike rack)
The other weekend I made a trip with a bike rack on my car. What I noticed was a 10% reduction in my fuel efficiency, where my mpg dropped to 27mpg from 30mpg. If you’re driving around consistently with an empty ski rack, you’re wasting money.
14. Use your cruise control (and drive in the correct lane – it saves money of course )
Using cruise control on the highway will help you keep a consistent speed and save you money. See number 1 if you missed it.
15. Carpool / Telecommute (the no-brainer of the bunch)
Yes, this one is a no-brainer – but if you’re not driving, you’re not spending money on gas. I attempt to telecommute as often as possible for just this reason – plus it saves me time, which in my stage of life is more valuable than money.
Your Thoughts? What tips do you have, or where have you saved money on gas in the past?
Photo credit – Cybersalt