Proven Tips for Saving Money on Gas
The high cost of gas is of great concern to nearly every driver, yet it is the price one pays for personal mobility and independence. While consumers cannot control the price that has to be paid at the gas pump, there are numerous steps that they can take to make sure that each tank of gas goes a long way, both distance-wise and financially.
According to the Federal Trade Commission, drivers can make each tank of gas go further -- thus saving money -- by adjusting their driving habits and by making use of the following tips. These tips have been proven to increase fuel-efficiency and reduce gas consumption.
The Gas Tank
- Drivers should only use gas that has the correct octane level for their particular car. The appropriate level can be found in the owner’s manual, but regular octane is the typical recommendation for most cars. Using a higher lever provides no additional benefit, and is costlier.
- Avoid overfilling the gas tank. Topping off usually leads to spillage, which wastes money.
The Steering Wheel
- Do not idle the car unnecessarily. Switching off the engine preserves fuel and saves money. It is also better for the environment.
- Avoid speeding: Driving above a speed of 60 miles per hour causes a rapid decrease in gas mileage.
- Avoid sudden acceleration and abrupt stopping. Steady driving improves gas mileage when driving in town.
- Whenever possible, use cruise control and overdrive gears during highway driving. This increases fuel efficiency.
- Use the correct gear when driving. Fuel economy is compromised when drivers increase speed but do not put cars in high gear.
- Drive with the windows closed on highways. This prevents drag, which increases fuel consumption. Conversely, drive with windows open during in-town driving. This saves on air conditioning use -- thus saving gas.
- Park the car in shaded locations. When the weather is extremely hot, put the car in the garage or somewhere out of directly sunlight because gas will evaporate as the car heats up.
- Try to avoid driving during the rush hour. The constant stopping and going in traffic jams is notorious for wasting gas. It is better to adjust working hours to escape the commuter log-jam.
Lighten the load: Additional poundage in the trunk increases gas consumption. A car gets greater fuel efficiency when it does not have to carry excess weight, thus saving money.
The Driver’s Seat
- Carpool to save money on gas. Many cities have initiatives that connect people who are interested in carpooling.
- Connect with neighbors and co-workers to share rides: People who work at the same organizations and who live in close proximity to each other could take turns driving each other to work. In this way, everyone saves on the gas used for commuting.
- Consider using public transportation: It saves money on gas as well as wear and tear on the car.
- Bike or walk to work if the distance and the weather make it a feasible proposition.
The Car Tires
Make sure all of the tires are correctly aligned and properly inflated. Doing so will boost the car’s performance and improve fuel-efficiency.
Beneath the Hood
Some very simple steps can dramatically impact the amount of fuel that a car uses.
- Replace dirty filters regularly: The use of premium air filters have a greater impact on fuel efficiency.
- Maintain a regular oil-change schedule. Use motor oil that states “Energy Conserving” because the additives in the oil reduce friction, which leads to better fuel efficiency and economy.
- Ensure car is serviced as needed. Keeping the engine tuned can increase gas mileage up to four percent.
Purchase Fuel-Efficient Motor Vehicles
- A fuel-efficient car is the single most important way of saving money on gas.
- Over a period of one year, a car that gets 30 miles to each gallon of gas will save more money than one that gets only 20 miles per gallon.
Working, Shopping & General Driving Habits
Examine Driving Habits
Drivers who adhere to the following driving practices will save gas dollars:
- Purchase gas only when out on a regular drive: Do not make a special trip just to fill up the gas tank.
- Organize errands, shopping and appointments for more efficient driving and a reduction in the number of trips. For example, try to combine all the stops in a particular area in just one trip. Constant back and forth and in-between driving uses much more gas.
- Do not drive further just to purchase cheaper gas if the savings will not be substantially more than the cost of the gas used for the round trip. Remember, too: Your time is also valuable!
Work from Home
Telecommuting just one or two days a week is an excellent way to save gas dollars. The savings will mount considerably over the course of a year.
Use Online Shopping
A great deal of shopping can be conducted online: This eliminates the need to drive in long, slow-moving lines of traffic and driving around for parking spaces. Gas consumption will be reduced markedly. Many online sites offer free shipping both ways, which saves even more money. It is even possible to comparison-shop online before making a direct beeline to the store that offers the best deal. This prevents a great deal of driving from shop to shop.
Be Wary of Gas-Saving Devices
It might be tempting to purchase any one of the number of gas-saving devices that are aimed at motorists, but caution should be exercised.
- The Federal Trade Commission warns that the claims made by companies selling gas-saving products for cars are likely to be false and could prove costly.
- Bear in mind, too, gas-saving devices for cars do not carry any government approval, and claims to that effect are fraudulent.
Ultimately, the best course of action for saving money on gas is to follow as many of the given tips as possible. As drivers incorporate more of the tips into their daily driving habits, they will reap greater savings at the gas pump -- and the savings will be compounded over time.