How to save real money on gas
Gas prices have already topped $4 in several parts of the country, but efficient driving and shopping tactics can translate to big savings at the pump.
This post comes from Kelli B. Grant at partner site SmartMoney.
Prices at the pump currently average $3.84 for a gallon of regular unleaded, 30 cents more than a month ago, according to AAA. (The record is $4.11, hit in July 2008). Drivers in 16 states and the District of Columbia pay even more -- and in eight of those states, prices already top $4 per gallon. Consumers shouldn't expect relief in coming months, either, says Tom Kloza, chief oil analyst for the Oil Price Information Service. The cost of refueling typically peaks in May after refineries complete the switch to summer gasoline blends, which are more volatile adn more expensive than winter blends . As a result, drivers could see prices rise an additional 5 to 25 cents, he says.(Post continues below.)
Some motorists are better positioned than others to save, experts say. People in states along the Rocky Mountains have some of the lowest prices nationwide -- as cheap as $3.43 in Wyoming -- thanks to their proximity to U.S. supply and refineries, Kloza says. And drivers cruising around in 2012 models may experience the fruits of manufacturers' latest fuel-efficiency push, says Jim Kliesch, research director for the Union of Concerned Scientists' clean vehicles program. Many new models offer features such as lightweight metals and stop-go technology that shuts off an engine at stoplights and in gridlock, he says.
But most drivers need to make more of an effort to save on gas by taking smaller actions that improve fuel economy and reduce costs. "No one individual (fuel-efficiency) tactic stands far above the rest," says Kliesch. "It's a handful of simple things you can do that together offer a reasonable improvement in your fuel economy."
Driving a vehicle that isn't at its most fuel efficient can be equivalent paying an extra $2 or more per gallon, simply because it burns through a tank much faster. Here's how to avoid that premium by filling up less often:
- Savings: Up to 7 cents per gallon.
There's good reason to clean out the junk piled in the trunk, says Kliesch. Every 100 pounds of added weight in a car reduces its fuel economy by up to 2%. That works out to an extra four to seven cents per gallon. Hauling a cargo carrier, bikes, kayaks or other gear atop the car is worse, decreasing fuel economy by as much as 5%.
Weigh payment methods
- Savings: Up to 19 cents per gallon.
As gas prices rise, many credit cards' reward caps on gas purchases kick in, limiting their value, says Odysseas Papadimitriou, chief executive of CardHub.com. He likes the PenFed Platinum Rewards card, which requires a $15 credit union membership but offers five points per dollar spent at the pump. (At $3.84 per gallon, that works out to about $0.19 back.) In some instances it could make more sense to pay cash. Stations may offer discounts of up to 10 cents per gallon for drivers who forgo plastic.
- Savings: Up to $1.27 per gallon.
By the U.S. Department of Energy's estimates, every 5 mph faster than 60 mph adds $0.30 per gallon to the gas bill. Aggressive stops and starts waste an additional 33% at highway speeds and about 5% at slower, local speed limits. "Don't try to jump off the starting block," says Avery Ash, manager of regulatory affairs for AAA. Calmer driving translates to savings of $0.19 to $1.27 per gallon.
Check the tires
- Savings: Up to 12 cents per gallon.
Under- or over-inflated tires change the way the car handles, adding drag and speeding wear. That, in turn, reduces fuel efficiency by about 3%. Look on the driver's side door panel or in the owner's manual for information on proper inflation levels, Kliesch says. Don't go by the figure stamped on the tire -- that's the maximum it can handle.
Use grocery discounts
- Savings: Up to $2.20 per gallon.
Many big supermarket chains now tie in-store spending to discounts at the pump. Depending on the program and your typical grocery bill, your savings could range from 10 cents off to as much as $1.50 per gallon at Albertsons or $2.20 at Giant, says Teri Gault, the founder of The Grocery Game. But shoppers may find that prices at partner stations are higher than elsewhere, eating into savings, she cautions. Programs typically cap the amount of fuel you can get at the discounted rate, although households may still be able to fill two cars on the cheap.
Create a fuel-efficient route
- Savings: Up to 30 cents per gallon.
It's possible to cut down on mileage just by running a few errands on the same trip, and choosing more efficient routes, Ash says. On longer trips, use a GPS to find the best route -- and price-mapping apps like AAA TripTik or GasBuddy to find the best fuel deals along those routes. Prices in Ypsilanti, Mich., for example, currently range from $3.81 to $4.09, according to GasBuddy. That's a $0.28 per gallon swing, so it can pay to shop around.
More on SmartMoney and MSN Money:
- Finally, loyalty programs for saving
- Breaking up with retailer email
- Spa deals that pamper your wallet
- Calculator: How much vehicle can you afford?
This is all BS. People have done all of this and prices still rise. Who's kidding who??
We need the truth as to what is really going on.
Take your BICYCLE on beautiful days!!!
By car it takes me 15 min to go to work and 10 min to walk from my parking spot to the building. By bicycle it takes me 25 min at a leisurely pace direct to my building. Same time without burning gas and polluting and I am just a regular guy. People tell me all sorts of excuses for not taking the bicycle but if you try it you might not need to take the car to go to the gym!!!!!
Here is something I practiced most my life and I think more and more people should think about. Especially older people getting ready or thinking about retirement.
Shop for a home or apartment close to everything, even your workplace. I have a home that has everything you can think of within a five mile radius. 6 or seven different banks, all kinds of restaurants like golden coral, steak houses, red lobster, burger king, mcdonalds, taco bell, Kentucky fried chicken and many more. Two King super, and a safeway. super Wal-Mart, costco, super target, Chile's, radio shack, I mean I have everything and the farthest of something different if a really want to get out is with in ten miles. My jobs have always been with in five miles until I changed my trade some years ago. I find that there are more and more area's that are building up like this to help people that buy homes in some areas to not have to drive ten or twenty miles for anything. I also have a light rail system I can walk to and get downtown without driving at all.
Schools through to high school, Smart people in America are going to have to start thinking about living in areas like this and buying homes in areas like this that will keep the resale because they save family's thousands of dollars every year over and above buying some expensive high breed car that cost more with insurance and car payments than gas it will save in a life time.
President Obama caving today by letting that leg of the lie called the Keystone Pipeline get built in OK today was sadder then sad AFTER he previously listened to SOUND science and said it would'nt go anywhere until after the next election year.
The only thing this guarantees is more accidents and destruction of our environment, NOT lowering of gas prices. Mr. President, you let us down on environmental POLICY AGAIN. Another GULF here we come.
Ok all of you are right and wrong. You are all freaking geniuses. Okayyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy
I have all of you beat. It is simple. I drive what I want a big a-- SUV that gets about 15 mpg. I don't mind becuase I steal stuff, sell the stuff and my gas is basically free. Okayyyy geniuses. I am just kidding phuck nutters. Calm down
We use Pure Gas, no ethenol. We also add pure acetone, 2 oz. per 10 gallons. I have improved my gas milage by 4 miles a gallon. I read this on line, many months ago.
This works for us, but you might want to check it out for yourself. Ethenol free gas cost about 10 cents more a gallon. Everyone puts it in their lawn mowers, and other small moters.
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