This is a guest post from Hank Coleman who writes about money and investing on his blog, Money Q&A.
Now that gas prices are once again on the rise and we haven’t even reached the peak summer driving period yet, everyone is quickly becoming very concerned about saving money on gas. There are a few simple things that you can do in order to save money on gas despite the current rising prices. Some of them involve simply changing your driving habits, how we shop, and the way we take care of our cars. Here are five easy ways to save money at the pump.
Drive Better – How you drive directly reflects how much fuel your car uses. Do you quickly accelerate? Do you tend to slam on the brakes? Do you like to drive too fast? Do you tailgate people in front of you? Most fuel economy experts recommend reducing your speed to 55 mph in order to get the best fuel efficiency from your car’s engine. Also, the smoother you start and stop your car will help save you several gallons of gas each month. And, saving any amount of gas with costs rising to a $4 or more per gallon average around the country can really start to add up quickly.
Get Your Car Tuned Up – One of the easiest and best things that you can do for your fuel efficiency is to keep your car tuned up. Following your car’s owner’s manual for scheduled tune ups has been shown to improve a car’s fuel efficiency by as much as 4% according to the US Department of Energy.
Fill Up In The Middle Of The Week – Believe it or not, but gas is typically cheaper on Wednesday than it is on Thursday. That is because Thursday is the day that most gas stations raise their prices in anticipation for the weekend driving rush.
Shop Around For Gas – I am not suggesting that you drive all the way across town to fill up your car, but it does pay for you to pay attention to the prices at the pump from gas stations that you pass on your typical commute. Do not simply go to your favorite, most convenient gas station to fill up when simply crossing the road or taking a back street to a new station can save you several pennies per gallon and subsequently several dollars for each tank you fill up.
Use Technology To Your Advantage – There are so many great applications that you can download to your smart phone that will help you drive better and find the best gas prices around town. Check out smart phone apps from places like AAA, Gas Buddy, Road Ninja, CheapGas, and many others. There are also some very useful tools and websites like GasBuddy.com that can help you as well.
While 4% better fuel efficiency or saving a few pennies per gallon may not seem like a big deal to most people, it can really add up over time especially when you combine several tactics together to save money on gas. For example, if you have a 15 gallon size gasoline tank on your car and get 25 miles per gallon fuel efficiency, you can drive 375 miles every tank of gas you buy. If you were to save 4% on your fuel because of tune ups, you could squeeze out an extra 15 miles every fill up or over $2 in savings. And, that is just one way of the many ways to save money. Before long you could be saving a few hundred dollars each year on your gas bill by changing just a few small habits and other simple tactics.
Do you have other ways that you like to save money on gas? I’d love to hear them in the comment section.
Hank Coleman is a finance writer who has written extensively for many financial websites and publications in addition to his own blog, Money Q&A. Hank holds a Master’s Degree in Finance and is currently studying to take the Certified Financial Planner exam later this year. Be sure to follow him on Twitter @MoneyQandA.
I employ most of these ideas – and they are great! The only one I wont do is shop around for the cheapest gas price. Why? Because I have taken the time to track my gas mileage from a few stations and have found this: my local mom-n-pops station will CONSISTENTLY give my vehicles (both cars and our minivan) 2-5 miles MORE per mile/gallon! This is a huge savings!!
Elizabeth @ Simple Finance says
I think your first tip – to change how you drive – can make the biggest difference. Hypermilers take this to the nth degree, and claim to save 40%+ on their fuel costs. I tried this myself, and did reasonably well, although my husband swore I was driving like an old lady.
All good points. Since my cars are getting old (17&15 y.o.), I suggest replacing older cars with newer more efficient cars.
Julie @ Freedom 48 says
One thing we like to do is get all of our shopping/errands done in one shot. Rather than heading out to different places each day after work, we get it all done at once… and the rest of the time we just drive to & from work. We only have to fill the tank 1-2 times per month (we share a vehicle).