This is a guest post by Hank Coleman who writes about money and investing on his blog, Money Q&A.
It seems like there is always a constant struggle between car drivers and the gas pump. Americans like to drive. There is no getting around it. While we try to drive smaller and more fuel efficient cars, there are only so many lifestyle changes we can make in order to squeeze out savings at the pump. So, if we want to continue driving around the country in our cars, trucks, and SUVs, there are other changes in our driving habits that we need to address in order to save money on gas. Small changes can make a big impact to increase your saving at the gas pump.
Four Easy Ways To Save Money On Gas
Get Rid Of The Dead Weight – Did you realize that carrying a bunch of junk in your trunk is weighing your car down and costing you money in lower fuel economy? A study conducted by the US Department of Energy found that you can increase your fuel economy by 2% when you lose an extra 100 pounds from your car’s trunk. There are also savings that you can find by getting rid of items such as luggage on top of your car which can block the flow of wind and create a drag on your vehicle.
Get A Tune Up – Not only will a well tuned car drive better, last longer, and be safer for you and your family, you can also save gas by following your car manufacturer’s recommended tune up schedule. The Federal Trade Commission estimates that you can increase your gas mileage by as much as 4% with regular tune ups. Are your tires properly inflated? Is your fuel injector clean? Simple preventative maintenance can go a long way to preserving the life of your car and helping your engine run more efficiently which will help you save money on gas.
Hit Up The Best Deals – I pass by over ten gas stations on my 30 minute commute to work every morning. Now is no time to be brand loyal to a gas station when you can save money by stopping at one over another. Most of them get their fuel from the same wholesaler anyway. Look for the gas station that offers a cash discount. Consider using an app on your smart phone to find the gas stations with the lowest prices, and 99.9% of the time, you and your car’s engine will be just fine filling up with the lowest octane level gasoline.
How You Drive Matters – We’ve all been told since we were teenagers not to tailgate the car in front of us, not to speed, to go easy when braking, and a host of other warnings. Not only are these tips safer for us behind the wheel, but they are also a great way to save money on gas. Many studies have shown that a car’s fuel economy starts to diminish when driving over 65 mph. Fast starts and sudden stops are also another way to burn extra fuel.
Adding It All Up
You may be thinking to yourself, “Who cares? It is only a little extra money in gas.” But, like most things in our budgets, it is the small stuff the throws our finances out of whack. We spend weeks or months researching our big purchases like buying a new house or financing a car, but we don’t hesitate to swing into any gas station on our route without paying too much attention to the price of gas there. What are a few pennies here and there between friends? But, a few pennies can quickly add up over the course of a year.
What is your favorite way to save money on gas? Do you have a favorite tip? I’d love to hear it.