Are you one of those people that ran out and bought a gas guzzling SUV or pick-up truck the minute gas prices fell below $3.00/gallon? Shame on you if you’re trying to save money. The difference between a vehicle that gets 15 mpg and one that gets 22mpg (on average) driving approximately 15,000 miles per year with an average gas price of $2.50/gallon is $800. That’s not pocket change. Keep the following tips in mind to save money on gas — especially if you’re driving a gas guzzler.
- Get rid of the gas guzzler.
Gas prices have come down considerably over the past few year, but don’t expect them to stay that way forever. In addition, gas is a finite resource. No one really knows how much oil is left in the world, and countries like China and India are emerging as huge users of this commodity. For yourself and posterity it is wise to begin now to cut back on its use. If at all possible buy a fuel-efficient car. Most people do not need gas-guzzling SUV’s or cars with big V-8 engines. Consider a hybrid car like a Toyota Prius. The new all electric cars are great town cars for getting to and from work and running all your errands. If you must drive to work, all you really need is something to get you from point A to point B.
- Slow down.
Try to keep your high speed between 40mph and 55mph. Speeds above 55mph can decrease your gas mileage by more than 20% due to wind resistance.
- Avoid jack-rabbit starts.
Quick acceleration from a standing stop is a real strain on the engine and burns fuel at an extremely wasteful rate. In rush hour traffic, leave enough space between you and the car in front of you so that you can keep your car in motion, Even if you’re traveling at 5mph, it’s better than stop-and-go driving.
- Drive at a steady rate of speed.
Slowing down and speeding up wastes fuel. Also, avoid tailgating since you never know what the car in front of you is going to do, and it usually results in erratic driving.
- Close the windows on the freeway.
Driving with the windows down at higher speeds causes a lot of drag, and can reduce your mileage by as much as 10%.
Yes, there are a million excuses for not carpooling, most of which are quite feeble. Take a look at the number of vehicles that have only one person in it. Then consider if everyone simply doubled up how many cars would be eliminated from the road. Certainly the rush hour commute could easily be cut in half, and your gas bill would experience the same savings. Better yet, take public transportation and really rack up the savings.
- Consolidate your errands.
Organize your day of errands so you get as much done as possible in one trip. Try to stay in the same geographical area to avoid excess driving.
- Get regular tune-ups.
A properly tuned car is a more fuel-efficient car.
- Shop for gas.
The price of gas can vary by as much as $0.20 per gallon. Shop for the lowest priced gas within a three-mile radius of your home or work. Be sure to download the GasBuddy app to find the least expensive gas no matter where you are.
- Check tires and alignment.
Due to less friction, radial tires help conserve fuel. Make sure the tire pressure is always kept at manufacturer’s recommended PSI. Keep wheels aligned for better tire life and better mileage. When it is time to replace your tires, information about any major brand can be found online.
- Shop online.
Online shopping has come a long way since the beginnings of e-commerce. Today, many more online merchants offer great deals along with free shipping, even if you have to return something. Amazon.com is a leader in this arena. Save money and save gas.
- Don’t sit in idle for more than a minute.
If you’re waiting in line at a drive-up window, turn off the car if the wait will be more than one minute. Same goes for stalled traffic on roadways, waiting for a train to pass, or anywhere you and your car sit for more than a minute. It only takes two seconds to fire the car back up and far less gas than it takes to idle.