Gas is one of those sleeper expenses that can creep up on you. Especially if you haven’t been driving much this year and out of the blue realize that your tank is low. If you dread every trip to the gas station to fill up, consider checking out a few of these tips to help you save money.
No. 1: Avoid Accelerating Rapidly and Break Efficiently
Accelerating too quickly or slamming on the breaks abruptly can drain your car’s fuel. By practicing safe and fuel-efficient driving, you can save on gasoline in small increments over time. And you will also keep your car in better condition over the long run.
No. 2: Avoid Idling or Leaving the Engine Running
Idling or sitting in your car with the engine running is another practice that can rapidly drain your car’s fuel (and contribute to air pollution). If you’re prone to hanging out in your car while it’s running, consider turning off the engine. If you’re nervous about waiting in a car during the winter, make sure to close your windows and bundle up.
No. 3: Plan in Advance When Buying Gas
If you know roughly the amount of gas that you use on a monthly basis, setting aside money for it can help the expense feel easier to tackle. Additionally, if you know which gas stations have better rates and plan ahead, you might end up filling your tank up for less money consistently, which will help you save over time.
There are also apps that track gas prices and can help you find the cheapest options in your area.
AAA, a service many car-owners already invest in, has a TripTik Planner app that will allow you to see the prices of gas stations available in your area. GasBuddy is another great option that lets you track rising and falling gas prices. Gas Guru is an app to help you save time and money on finding and buying gas.
Another pro move is to buy gas earlier in the day or later in the evening. This is when the gas is cooler and denser when it comes out of the pump. That means you get a bit more quantity for your money
No. 4: Join a Rewards Program
Gas stations like BP and Shell offer fuel rewards and credit cards with rewards programs. Some grocery stores like Giant Eagle, Big Y, and Kroger also offer gas points for purchases you make.
Many credit cards will offer cashback on essential purchases, one of which is often fuel. You can also use the GetUpside app where you earn cashback on your gas purchases.
No. 5: Pay at the Pump with Cash
Companies will sometimes charge extra fees for using cards to make purchases. If you pay for gas with cash, gas stations are less likely to extract sleeper fees like transaction penalties.
No. 6: Eliminate Wind Resistance
Preventing your car from functioning optimally can be a drain on your gas (as well as limit your car’s performance). Having the windows down while you’re on the highway can reduce your car’s wind resistance and negate its streamlined build, as well as its gas mileage. Long story short–roll up those windows if you want to get the most out of your fuel.
You can also use the cruise control function to increase your fuel efficiency. But only if you are driving on a long, flat surface like the highway.
No. 7: Ensure That Your Car Is Equipped with the Best Gear
Have you been cutting costs by investing in less-than-desirable elements for your car? Or failing to take your car in for routine maintenance? If so, you could actually end up racking up more costs in the long run.
Ensure that your car has new, clean air filters, and the correct motor oil. This can prevent your engine from working harder than it needs to. Keep an eye on your tire pressure as well. According to Fuel Economy “under-inflated tires can lower gas mileage by about 0.2% for every 1 psi drop in the average pressure of all tires.”
And finally, don’t ignore the check engine light when it comes on.
No. 8: Consider Carpooling or Walking
The fuel economy contributes to air pollution and global warming. If you’re environmentally conscious and want to find ways to reduce your fuel consumption, consider utilizing ride-share programs or carpooling more than you would normally.
Carpooling is a great way to be energy efficient in your day to day. It is not only a money-saving practice but it’s also better for the environment. If you can get to any of your destinations by walking or biking, you can save on gas and practice healthy exercise habits. Ones that have the added benefit of getting you somewhere you wanted to go.
Are you looking for other ways to save money while driving in the big city? If so, check out our blogs on how to save money on car insurance, as well as how to save money while living in a city. And check out some others as well on how to set a budget, how to coupon, and how to cut down on your grocery bill.