16 Ways to Save on Gas
Gas prices continue to SKYROCKET and I will not even attempt to explain WHY or the politics behind it. What I do know is that we all need to look at SAVING GAS MONEY!!
Here are 16 easy ways you can save gas money and improve fuel efficiency. Many of these tips you may already know and are common sense, but a little reminder never hurt anyone – especially when gas is already close to or over $4/gallon!
DO NOT DRIVE or drive less…
Obviously you will use less gas the less you drive.
- Look to carpool, walk, bike or take public transportation.
- Plan your trips to be more efficient. Run all your errands in one trip rather than running out multiple times in the week. Even though I may miss a deal by not running out NOW to grab it, spending $2 in gas to save a couple bucks does not make sense in this economy. I plan and go to all 3 drugstores in one trip and try to plan my grocery runs so I am not the only one with a huge stockpile of items only to run out of milk!
- Park at the first parking spot you find – driving round and round hunting for a closer spot is not worth it AND your big ole’ butt will appreciate the extra exercise.
- Talk to your boss about working from home a couple days a week.
DRIVE a FUEL EFFICIENT CAR
I know, obvious again, but seriously take a look at what your family really needs and whether the additional gas money is worth the status or convenience of those gas guzzlers.
My husband finally got a brand new Ford pickup last year. He has had clunkers for 20 years and he deserved it. We then moved further away from his job AND gas prices went up. THE MONEY WE WERE SPENDING on gas was NUTS! He decided to trade in his fancy truck for a slightly used Ford Focus for commuting – and yes, the car dealer paid us. Being the Maven wheelin’ dealin’ husband that he is, he traded in the truck for only $200 less than he bought it for 14 months previous. YES he scored a great deal and we were able to use the “extra” money to grab a used pick-up for him to use for the weekend stuff he does.
Of course getting a new, used or hybrid fuel efficient car is not feasible in some cases and even if it is, there are always other ways to get the best fuel efficiency by driving smarter:
- SLOW DOWN – this is a really hard one for me, but you get better gas mileage when you drive at a reasonable speed. The science behind it is that air resistance increases by the square of velocity. You need power to overcome that resistance and that requirement goes up by the cube of velocity – look out, the physics teacher in me is coming out! Some say 40 mph is the speed with which we drive without sacrificing fuel efficiency, but as you go over 60-65 the air resistance increases such that you pay for speed with reduced gas mileage. In addition you save on speeding fines. But all kidding aside, your engine is designed for its best efficiencies at a constant moderate speed, when you car is running around 2000 rpm.
- STEADY as SHE GOES – give cruise control a try. Acceleration & deceleration take more energy. If you can maintain a constant rate, you will improve your gas mileage. Also look for a route that avoids constant stop & go and if you can avoid rush hour, even better. When you approach an off ramp or stop light, let off the gas ahead of time and cruise to a stop. Aggressive driving with acceleration to pass people is no good for your blood pressure or your wallet.
- TURN OFF THE CAR – this one is somewhat up for debate, as people believe that starting a car uses a lot of gas. Yes, turning it on does use gas, however at a certain point the gas you use while idling is more than if you just shut the car off. Some say if you are idling for more than 30 sec – 1 minute, shut it off. Park & go into the bank, fast food, or other drive throughs – again the walk will do you good (or stay away from the fast food drivethru all together, as I should :(). Turn the car off if you are waiting for someone to run in quick.
- DROP THE DEAD WEIGHT – Yes, the next time he asks can you take the kids shopping with you, you can say NO. More weight in the car reduces the gas mileage – LOL! Newton’s Law F=ma – means the more mass, the more force you need to accelerate. Seriously though, get all that crap out of your car and off your car. Racks and extra weight add more air resistance.
- AC off vs. windows down – I say it depends on too many variables, but the theory is that windows rolled all the way down cause increased air resistance – TRUE. AC with the windows up eliminates the air resistance but uses more energy. The best thing is no AC and windows up. Though this could save on the sauna membership for our big ole’ butts again, it is NOT recommended in the summer for pets and children. There are too many variables to the design of your particular car to determine which is best and even Mythbusters are not too sure about it.
- Fill up your tires – check your tire pressure on a regular basis and fill when needed. I was amazed at how my gas mileage increased when I filled my tires to the recommended pressure.
BUY CHEAPER GAS
OK, so you have done all of the above, but you still need to buy gas. Here are some things you can try to reduce the pain in your wallet:
- You can find Gas Price Apps to tell you the cheapest prices in your neck of the woods such as GasBuddy, iGasUp and even AAA’s TripTik. What app do you use that you find most up to date??
- Gas Credit Card Rewards programs – most gas companies have rewards programs when you use their credit card. HOWEVER, if you cannot manage to have a credit card and pay it off every month, the money you save will be LOST in finance charges.
- Grocery Loyalty GAS rewards – some grocery chains (Stop & Shop and Big Y in my area) allow you to earn gas points for making certain purchases. Again, if you are shopping there anyway that works. If you end up BUYING more just to save more, think about if it is making sense :).
- Fill up on Wednesdays or midweek. Take a look at the prices and how they fluctuate around the weekends and holidays. Prices are traditionally cheaper each week on Wednesdays.
- Pay with CASH – some stations (which I HATE, by the way, because I think it is false advertising) have a lower price when you pay cash versus credit.
- Do not be brand conscious and get the lowest octane your car can use.
There are many more ideas and there are tons of myths as well. You can find a lot of information on how low to let your tank get and whether to fill up in the morning or afternoon or if you should park in the shade so your gas does not evaporate. But try some of the above and see if you can save you gas money for something more fun.
What do you do to save gas money and improve fuel efficiency??