Save Money & Gas With These Smart Tips

Save Money & Gas With These Smart Tips

Save Money & Gas With These Smart Tips
Reading Time: 5 minutes

If you’re a car owner, one of your main concerns is how to save money on gas. It doesn’t matter what make and model you drive because gas is one of the biggest expenses for any vehicle owner. If you know how to save on gas, you could save thousands of dollars a year.

 

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates that from 1975 to 2018, the fuel efficiency of an average vehicle increased from 13 miles per gallon to around 25 miles per gallon. Yet, despite this increased efficiency, Americans have been spending more on gas. 

 

The US Energy Information Administration estimated that Americans spent about $348 billion on gas in 2017. Part of this is due to the rise in gas prices and part is due to the average distance drivers commute each day. It’s estimated that the daily average commute is around 26.1 minutes one-way. That’s nearly one hour round-trip.

 

As we return to normalcy after more than a year of remote work and social distancing, commutes will likely increase. There are several factors beyond your control, including gas prices and your commuting distance. But here’s what’s within your control to help you save money on gas.

 

How To Save At The Pump

While most people seeking to lower their gas expenses look at the condition of their vehicles and gas mileage, they forget that what they pay for makes a massive difference. There are some simple actions you can take at the gas station to save money. That’s because the price of gas is one of the biggest factors in your overall gas costs. 

 

Skip the Premium Fuel

While premium fuel does offer some benefits, it’s mostly just a marketing ploy. In fact, your car doesn’t significantly benefit from high-octane gas. Just remember: Unless your car manufacturer specifically demands that you use premium fuel, you don’t have to.

 

Filling up with premium typically costs 20 to 40 cents per gallon more than regular fuel. Those pennies can add up to a significant amount over months.

 

Always Pay With a Gas Credit Card

An effective way to curb gas expenses is by getting a gas credit card. Such cards offer discounts when you buy gas and rewards on other purchases, too. American Express, Visa, and Mastercard have gas credit cards that also provide rewards on other transactions. 

 

The usual cash-back is around 3%, which can make a huge difference if you make long commutes to work. Some cards also offer a bonus when you sign up if you meet their minimum spending criteria in a short span.

 

Join a Fuel Rewards Program

Grocery and gas station chains have several fuel rewards programs to encourage you to fill up at their outlets. As these programs have varying incentives and offers, select the one that best fits your regular commute and shopping habits. 

 

These memberships offer compelling savings if you regularly refuel at their stations. For example, with a member’s credit card from Costco, you could save up to 45 cents a gallon depending on where you live.

 

Look for cheaper options 

Most of us are creatures of habit. If you’re accustomed to driving a particular route and filling up at a gas station on the way, you’d presume it’s the most afffordable thing to do. Unfortunately, many people aren’t aware that individual stations are free to set their own prices. With a little research, you may find one that offers cheaper gas.

 

It’s important to realize that gas stations near major roads, such as interstate highways, usually have more expensive gas compared to outlets a little farther away. Driving to a cheaper outlet will be worth it when you consider the savings over a few months or a year.

 

You don’t have to drive around looking for stations selling cheaper gas. Simply download an app that will tell you the gas prices on your route.

 

Break Bad Habits And Save

Your driving habits also play a big part in how much gas your vehicle ultimately uses. Incorporating these small steps can have a major impact on your gas bill.

 

Accelerate and Stop Smoothly

No matter what route you take to work or for grocery shopping, there will be some inevitable stops along the way. If you come to a sudden halt and then accelerate rapidly, it will decrease your vehicle’s fuel economy.

 

Ensure that you come to a stop slowly at a traffic sign. When it’s time to go, you don’t have to test your car’s power. Instead, start smoothly and accelerate at a gentle pace. Once you implement these habits, they will feel second nature.

 

The reason you should accelerate and stop smoothly is that it can reduce fuel consumption by up to 30% on open highways and 40% on city streets, according to the EPA.

 

Reduce Your Idle Time

Idling your car is how you burn gas for no reason. Whenever and wherever possible, turn off your car. Whether you’re waiting for a passenger, waiting for the light to turn green, stuck in traffic, or at a railroad crossing, you’ll save gas simply by turning off your vehicle. 

 

Also, during wintertime, remember that it’s better to wear warmer clothes than to leave your vehicle idling until it gets comfortable inside.

 

Drive Slower and Brake Less

Driving fast increases wind resistance, which is generally bad news for fuel economy. Although a vehicle’s fuel consumption differs depending on speed, the EPA states that it declines when the vehicle exceeds 50 miles per hour. 

 

An easy way to achieve this is to follow the speed limits of the slowest lanes on your route. Your driving style should be calm and steady, without needless acceleration or hard braking. In other words, coast at a measured and even pace, rather than making sudden accelerations or hitting the brakes excessively. 

 

Maintain Your Car and Save

Regular maintenance can help you save money on gas as your vehicle’s condition directly impacts how much fuel you use.

 

Check Tire Pressure

To easily save money on the road, start with tire pressure. If your tires are underinflated, you could be losing one cent per gallon, according to the US Department of Energy. You can find your car’s recommended tire pressure in the owner’s manual or online.

 

You can check tire pressure at a gas station or buy a pressure gauge from any auto parts store. The right tire pressure will reduce wear and tear. This means you won’t have to replace your tires as often, resulting in additional savings. 

 

Lighten the Load 

Another way to increase fuel economy is by lightening your vehicle’s load. While most people know what’s on the driver’s and passengers’ seats, few are aware of what’s in their trunk.

 

Check it regularly for anything heavy. If your kid has music lessons or sports training, don’t store that equipment in your car. Make it a habit to unload it when you get home. 

 

Clean or Replace Your Air Filter

The air filter prevents harmful particles from getting into your engine. If you don’t clean your air filter, these particles will accumulate and stop your engine from performing at its optimum level. 

 

Your owner’s manual should show you the air filter location under the hood. You can clean the filter with air filter oil or by hosing it off. Make sure it dries completely before you put it back on. You can also get new air filters for between $50 and $80.

 

Use the Correct Oil

The oil you use can also affect your car’s fuel economy. Use only those oils recommended by your car manufacturer or ones specifically designed to be fuel [.1] efficient.

 

Conclusion

While you can’t control the price of gas, these are some effective tactics that will help you save money. You don’t have to start doing all of them at once. Try incorporating them one by one until they become part of your routine. That’s when you’ll see a real difference in your fuel economy and gas expenses. 

 

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