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16 Ways to Save on Gas

Now that you know why gas prices rise and fall [1], it’s time to discuss how to save on gas. Whether you’re going on a road trip to save money on vacation [2] or driving to work everyday, saving money on gas is on everyone’s mind. Nothing is more frustrating than stopping at the gas station, filling up, and watching the price keep going up and up. But before you swear off driving forever, there are many ways you can keep your gas costs low. Here are 16 ways you can save on gas:

Photo source: Kristen

Before you Buy

When I’m ready to buy a new car [3], I’m going to be sure to keep in mind gas mileage [4] this time. If you are looking to trade or purchase a new or used car, keep these things in mind while you’re shopping:

    Choose a smaller car.
    Smaller cars often offer better gas mileage than big SUVs or larger cars. Consider compact or other small vehicles instead to save on gas.

    Do your research.
    Find out how the car does with gas. Visit Fuel Economy’s website [5] to search the gas mileage by the make, model, and year of the car you are interested in buying. You can also compare different cars side by side. Also, be sure to calculate the total cost of a new car [6].

Car Maintenance

Taking care of your car is the best way to save money. Besides avoiding more expensive costs down the line and being able to keep your car longer, taking care of your car also will save you on gas costs. This is what you should do:

    Replace your air filter.
    A dirty air filter is not good for your engine or your gas tank. A clean air filter can increase your gas mileage by up to 20%.

    Get an alignment and a tune up.
    A misaligned car can cause your tires to wear out which can lead to you using more gas. A regular tune up can improve the mileage by 4%.

    Keep your tires inflated.
    Keeping your tires properly inflated can help your car run better and help your gas mileage. Checking them out regularly and filling them up when needed can improve your gas by 3%.

    Pack light.
    When you weigh down your car, you are wasting gas. You can reduce your miles per gallon by approximately 2% with an extra 100 pounds. Keep essentials, but don’t just throw things in your trunk or use your car as storage.

How to Drive

Once you have your car in tip top condition, now it’s time to drive. How you are driving is the biggest indication of how much your gas is going to cost. Here are tips for how to drive to maximize your gas mileage and keep the price of gas low:

    Avoid traffic.
    Not only is traffic frustrating and a waste of time, it is horrible for your gas mileage with braking, accelerating, idling, and having the car run longer than it needs to. Try to avoid traffic by leaving for your destination at less traffic filled times. Download the free Beat the Traffic App. It’s a great tool for seeing where the traffic is. If you see there is excessive traffic, you can try to find an alternative route to avoid it.

    Use cruise control.
    When you’re driving on the highway, click on the cruise control feature. It will maintain your speed and keep you from fluctuating which saves you gas.

    Avoid idling.
    When you are parked in your car, turn your car off. Idling can waste up to a half gallon of gas per hour.

    Don’t accelerate too quickly.
    You will burn much less gas if you ease into a stop and not accelerate super rapid.

    Slow down.
    Speeding is not only hazardous, but it’s also bad for gas. According to FuelEconomy.gov, gas mileage decreases with anything above 50 miles per hour. Besides gas, going the speed limit will also prevent you from having to pay for tickets and higher car insurance [7] premiums.

    Drive less!
    I know that driving less is easier said than done, but give it a try. Try carpooling to work, events, or any other place a nearby coworker, family, or friend is also driving to. If a place is close enough, walk or bike instead of driving. Use public transportation whenever possible. Avoid unnecessary driving and trips by lumping errands together and planning ahead. If your job allows it, try to work from home.

Making the Purchase

Taking care of your car with proper maintenance and driving with gas costs in mind lead up to the moment of truth- your time at the pump. Here are a few simple ways to save.

    Download the GasBuddy App.
    The GasBuddy App [8] allows you to search gas prices in your current location. I used to find it annoying to pay for gas only to drive a block or two away and find that it is significantly cheaper somewhere else. With the app, you can find the lowest price in your area.

    Don’t wait to fill up.
    If you wait to fill up, you’re at the mercy of wherever you are when your tank is empty. When I was running late in the morning and rushing to work, I didn’t have time to fill up my tank. This made me have to fill up on the way home in an area that is more expensive than by my house. If you know the gas station or area that has the best gas, fill up while you can.

    Pay cash.
    I was shocked on my recent road trip to find that many places offer cheaper gas if you pay cash [9]. Make sure you’re reading the fine print before you fill up. I made the mistake of filling up and then realized the price was different. When I asked, the attendant informed me that was the price if you paid cash.

    Consider a gas credit card.
    If you are in the market for a new credit card, think about going with a gas credit card or a credit card that offers gas rewards [10]. The Shell gas credit card and the Phillips 66 gas card both offer 5 cents off each gallon if you pay for the gas with their credit card. In addition, the Pen Fed Platinum VISA [11] gives 5% cash back for pay at the pump gas purchases.

How do you save money on gas? How do you reduce your driving?

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