25 ways to save money on gas
Changing your driving habits can make a big difference.
This post comes from partner blog The Dough Roller.
gas prices nearing $4 a gallon, saving money on gas is more important
than ever. Fortunately, there are a lot of relatively simple and
inexpensive things you can do to save money on gas.
What follows is a list of 25 ways to reduce what you pay at the pump.
Replace a dirty air filter. According to the Federal Trade Commission, replacing a clogged air filter can increase gas mileage up to 10%.
Keep your car's engine tuned. Having your car's engine tuned according to the owner's manual can improve gas mileage by 4%.
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Get regular oil changes.
Clean oil in your car's engine improves gas mileage by reducing
friction. You should also look for oil that says "energy conserving" on
the performance symbol of the American Petroleum Institute. It contains
friction-reducing additives that can improve fuel economy.
Keep tires properly inflated. Properly inflated tires can increase your miles per gallon by up to 3%.
Use the right motor oil. Make sure you use the proper grade of motor oil, which can save you 1% to 2% at the pump.
Rotate tires and check alignment.
Rotating the tires for even wear will improve your car's performance
and gas mileage, as will keeping the car properly aligned.
Buy the recommended gas for your car.
Most cars run on regular octane gas. According to the FTC, there is no
reason to buy a higher grade of gas than what is recommended in the
owner's manual. If you want to read more on this, check out the FTC's "Low-down on high- octane gas."
Steer clear of gas-saving gadgets.
You've probably read about any number of gadgets that promise to
increase your car's gas mileage. Most of these gadgets don't deliver on
their promises, and some can even harm your car. For more information
on these gadgets, you can read the FTC's "Gas-saving products: Fact or fuelishess."
Use gas-rebate credit cards.
Some credit cards can save you up to 5% on gas. Three of the best cards
in my opinion are the Discover Open Road Card (5% cash rebate on gas
and car maintenance purchases), Chase PerfectCard MasterCard (6% rebate
on gas purchases first 90 days, 3% thereafter), and BP Visa Rewards
Card (10% rebates on gas purchases from BP during first two billing
cycles, 5% thereafter).
Keep it under 60. At speeds above 60 mph, miles per gallon starts to decrease significantly.
Avoid jackrabbit starts.
Peeling out when the light turns green so you can be the first car at
the next red light is like throwing money out the window. Gentle
driving can save you up to 5%.
unnecessary weight from your car (no, this doesn't include your
spouse). Lightening the load by 100 pounds can improve your gas mileage
Avoid using the roof rack. Items on top of your car, in addition to weighing you down, increase wind resistance, which lowers your gas mileage.
Use cruise control. Using cruise control on the highway when it's safe to do so improves fuel economy.
Use air conditioning on the highway, not in the city.
If it's hot outside, using the air conditioner on the highway improves
gas mileage over rolling down the windows because of air resistance.
But in stop-and-go traffic, it's best to let Mother Nature cool you
Remove snow tires. Deep tread and big tires consume more fuel. When winter is over, remove the snow tires for better gas mileage.
For many, it's the commute to and from work that burns the most gas.
Telecommuting even one day a week will reduce those costs 20%, will
reduce wear and tear on your car, and save lots of time, too. And
telecommuting is a great way to start what I like to call slow-motion retirement.
Work four 10s or nine nine-hour days.
If your boss isn't too keen on telecommuting, maybe he or she will
allow you to work four 10-hour days and take every Friday off, or nine
nine-hour days and take every other Friday off.
Join a group of friends or neighbors to carpool to work. This can
substantially cut down on gas consumption. And if you live in an area
that uses high-occupancy vehicle lanes, it can also get you to work
Plan errands. We all have errands to run
throughout the week and particularly on the weekends. Combine errands
so you have to take fewer trips to get your chores done. In addition to
saving gas, you'll also save time and aggravation.
Walk or bike when possible.
More and more people are riding their bike to mass transit or to work.
Even biking to work one or two days a week will save a substantial
amount of gas.
Car and tire buying
Buy fuel-efficient cars. There are plenty of hybrid and other fuel-efficient cars to choose from. In my "Best of March 2008" article, you'll find a link for some of the least expensive hybrids on the market. Another great site to check out is Fuel Economy, a government-run Web site about hybrid vehicles. These cars are the ultimate in money management when it comes to fuel cost.
Buy an electric- or gas-powered scooter.
These scooters are commonplace in many parts of the world, and their
popularity is growing in the U.S. A Vespa, for example, gets up to 72
miles per gallon and has a top speed of 59 mph.
Consider fuel-efficient tires.
Some tires are designed to increase fuel efficiency by decreasing the
rolling resistance of the tire. Of course, there are other
considerations when buying tires, including traction and handling, but
the tires you put on your car can have a significant impact on your
fuel economy. The Michelin Energy LX4 is an example of a fuel-efficient
If you have other tips on how to reduce gas consumption, please leave a comment.
Other articles of interest at The Dough Roller:
Published May 14, 2008
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