Next to your house, your car is one of the biggest investments that you will make in a lifetime. Unless you live in a city like New York where it is more convenient to take the subway rather than drive your own vehicle, you would need a car to get you from point A to point B.
But just because you have already driven that brand new sedan straight out of the showroom – and allotted money from your monthly budget for insurance and car loan fees – does not mean that the expenses stop there.
To keep your car in tiptop shape, you would need to spend money for its maintenance. More importantly, to make sure that you can drive your car from one location to another, you would need to fill up that tank with gas.
The good news is that there are plenty of ways that you can save money on gas. If you are driving a few miles from work every day, even a 50-cent difference in the per-gallon price of gas will give you plenty of savings in the long run.
In the following sections, we will be dishing out numerous tips on how you can save money on gas – starting from carpooling to looking for a gas station with the lowest rates, and even changing up your driving habits to make your car more fuel-friendly.
Save Money on Gas by Not Driving!
With the continuous increase of gas prices, is it an option for you not to drive? Those who live in a city or state where public transportation is pretty convenient will definitely save a lot of money on gas by not driving.
Go online and look up the rates for the local bus route from your house to your office. How about the subway system? As a taxpayer, you are already investing in these services, anyway, so you might as well take advantage of them.
In the US, the average commute is roughly 16 miles. The amount of gas that your car will use up for such a drive is definitely more expensive than the cost of a bus or train ticket. This is precisely the reason why you should consider taking public transport. Aside from saving money on gas, you can also prevent wear and tear on your car.
Another option is for you to go carpooling. If you have colleagues at work who live in the same neighborhood as yours, consider carpooling to save money on gas. In addition to the money that you will save, you can also do your share in helping save the environment by cutting your carbon emission.
Having at least a couple of passengers in one car trip will cut back your gas bills in half. If you’re new in the neighborhood, you can go online to look for carpooling options. Check out sites like Carpooling.com, eRideShare, Divide the Ride or CarpoolWorld. You can also use bicycles or e-bikes as your main mode of transportation, especially if the travel time from your house to your office is not that long.
How to Save Money When Buying Gas
Next, how can you save money when buying gas? Before that, it pays to mention the fact that you can save fuel money by purchasing a vehicle that does not guzzle up gas in the first place. SUVs are the primary culprit in using up too much gas during any length of drive, simply because the body of the vehicle is very bulky.
Instead of putting your money on a gas guzzler, purchase car models which are very fuel efficient. There are plenty of hybrids that you can go for these days without sacrificing the aesthetic quality of the vehicle. If you don’t need a family car, go for smaller sedans which will not take up too much space on the road.
Electric cars are another option if you cannot find any hybrid model that you like. Did you know that you can save up to $3,000 from your annual fuel bill by simply trading in that SUV for an electric car? The money that you would have spent for gas can be well spent on other items in your monthly budget.
Now, what are the ways for you to save money when buying gas? If you have a smartphone or a tablet computer, download an app that will give you real-time gas prices in different pump stations.
If you are in for a long drive, even a $0.20 per gallon price slash off will give you great overall savings. Sometimes, two pump stations which are right next to each other have different rates so the app will give you an idea about where to best fill up your gas tank.
Another way for you to save money on gas is to fill up the tank early or late in the day. This is especially true during the warm months. Gas is more dense and cooler early in the day so as temperatures rise, the density of gas decreases. This means that you will have less actual gas when you pump.
You can also save money when filling up the tank from Sundays, Mondays and Tuesdays. The price of gas typically increases between Wednesdays and Saturdays.
If there are wholesale clubs, grocery stores or department stores in your area which offer membership for lower gas prices, do some calculations so you can determine if the joining fee is worth the savings that you will incur.
Go online and look for gas coupons that will give you significant savings when filling up the gas tank. You can also use discounted gas gift cards, gas reward cards and even credit card rewards points to save on gas.
Being resourceful is a must if you would like to find which pump stations will offer you the best prices for filling up your car’s gas tank.
Ways to Save on Gas While Driving
Finally, being a cautious driver will allow that precious fuel to extend for several more miles. Here are some ways that you can save gas while driving:
Cut back on the time that you’re warming up your car
Even if it’s a particularly cold morning, you will simply waste gas by warming up your car for longer than a minute. Thirty seconds to a minute should do it, as long as your car is a new model. It’s only the older models of cars which need quite a long time to warm up.
Unfortunately, doing so simply wastes fuel and emits greenhouse gas emissions. This is precisely the reason why you should consider trading in an old car model with a newer, more fuel efficient one.
Slow down, drive steady
It may be enjoyable to zoom the speed when you’re in the driver’s seat – but it will cost you gas in the long run. Driving fast increases drag, which in turn boosts your fuel consumption.
Check on the speed limit at the road you’re in, stick to the limit or even drive below it – and don’t accelerate quickly. Driving slow and steady will use up your gas more efficiently, so you would not have to fill up the tank that often.
Ease up on the brakes
Your car consumes the most gas when you accelerate. If it’s already moving, it would not require as much fuel to run. Instead of speeding up and slamming the brakes during heavy traffic, why not hold a certain, steady speed without having to step on the brake? This even makes your driving smoother and a lot safer. When you use the brakes the right way, you can get up to 20% better gas mileage.
Turn off the engine when the car is not in use
If you’re waiting for your wife while she’s running inside the supermarket to get something ‘quickly’, she might get distracted and pick up more stuff along the way. Instead of letting the engine go idle while waiting, simply turn it off when not in use.
Turn off the air conditioning unit
Unless you’re driving in the desert where there’s bound to be a lot of dust and stale, humid air when you open the windows, consider turning off the AC. Park where there’s shade and simply open the windows to enjoy the breeze. This is a great way to save money on gas.
Make sure that the car tires are properly inflated
Before driving, make sure that your tires are inflated to the specified level. Doing so will reduce the friction between the tires and the road, thereby giving you greater gas mileage. During winter, also make sure to change your tires for better grip on the road and fuel efficiency.
Other tips to save on gas
You should also turn off unnecessary lights while driving, make sure that your car is properly maintained at all times, check your air filter, monitor the tire alignment, check your gas cap and lighten up the load on your car. By following these tips, you can save a lot of money on gassing up your car.