It pays to know how to save on gas

Get more mileage from every fill up.

While living without a car is becoming more possible across the country because of the alternatives to owning a car, you may not have chosen to give up your wheels just yet. Maybe you still feel like you need your car. Maybe you enjoy the feeling of freedom that comes with being able to hit the open road on a whim. Whatever your situation, one thing is for certain—a car is part of your life.

When gas prices rise, your car may feel like a bigger part of your life and your budget than you would like. With a few tips, a bit of planning and a little maintenance, you can save money on gas. That could help you put more money in the bank rather than your tank. And that might help driving become more enjoyable again.

Three simple gas-saving tips to go longer between fill-ups 

Getting better fuel efficiency is an obvious solution when considering how to save money on gas. It can also be simpler than you thought.

  • Slow your roll.
    This is an easy way to save the gas your car is using. The federal government estimates that for every 5 mph you drive over 50, you’re paying the equivalent of an additional $0.19 per gallon for gas! 1

  • Keep it clean.
    The more excess weight you have in your car, the less fuel efficient it will be. This is especially true of smaller cars. Carrying just 100 pounds extra could reduce your miles per gallon as much as 1%.1 So ask yourself, do you really need to keep your golf clubs in the trunk? Or the kids’ soccer gear all over the rear seat? Probably not. And what you save on gas could cover some extra greens fees each month.

  • Stop being idle.
    Sitting in an idling car while you’re waiting at home, at work or at the market uses as much as a quarter to half gallon of gas per hour.1 So rather than idling and wondering how to conserve gas while driving, turn off your car. You could take the opportunity to enjoy some fresh air. Rolling down the windows like your parents and grandparents did while you’re just sitting still could be the way to go.

Map it out

There are always errands to run and places to go. Combining short trips can help you save time and gas and even money while driving. In addition, you can include errands in your typical route, so a trip to the store is part of your drive home.

One of the best ways to save fuel while driving is to map out the route that’s likely to use the least amount of fuel. (Hint: it’s probably not over the river and through the woods.) And while you’re sorting out the best route, there are ways to find cheaper fuel along the way. You can use handy apps like GasBuddy, Waze or AAA’s TripTik app to see what current gas prices are which could help with saving on fuel costs.

In addition to finding cheap fuel, adjust the time you start your journey so that you miss heavy traffic. This can help you avoid that annoying and gas-consuming stop-and-go driving.

An ounce of prevention

Using the recommended grade of oil, having proper tire pressure and getting a regular tune-up will save money on gas. Routine maintenance could also help you avoid costlier repairs down the road.

Of the 3, proper tire pressure is the easiest to monitor. And it’s likely to make the biggest difference as you consider how to save money on gas for your car. Under-inflated tires can lower your fuel efficiency about 0.2% for every 1 pound per square inch (psi) drop. That works out to be about $0.02 a half gallon of gas.1 Over time, those pennies will truly add up.

For the recommended grade of oil and maintenance schedule, you can simply pull out your handy owner’s manual. You can also talk to your favorite mechanic or auto dealer for their expert advice.

There are lots of ways to save money on gas when you follow a few tips, plan a little bit and perform routine maintenance. Luckily, they all add up to helping you keep more money in the bank rather than in your tank.

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