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What are you doing to save on gas?

There are lots of tips, tricks and best practices to cut gasoline consumption. What works? What doesn't work? Tell us your secrets below.

By MSN Money Partner Apr 28, 2011 2:41PM

This post comes from Ellen Cannon at partner site SavingsAccounts.com.

 

SavingAccounts.com on MSN MoneyThe price of gas is putting the brakes on Americans' lives these days. As of April 22, regular unleaded gas in the United States averaged $3.88 per gallon, a jump of 11.53 cents in two weeks and 77 cents since January, when the national average was $3.11 per gallon, according to the Lundberg Survey.

 

To avoid pain at the pump, people are making efforts beyond carpooling. Many are driving less, combining shopping trips, using public transportation or riding bikes to run errands. Many car shoppers are trading in gas guzzlers for gas sippers or hybrids. With summer coming, many may be reconsidering their vacations.

 

There are other ways to maximize the dollars you feed to the pump without driving less -- by maximizing your miles per gallon.  There's a good deal of advice on ways to get more miles out of a tank of gas, but what really works? Keeping your tires properly inflated extends the life of the tires and is important for safety, but does it save you money? Driving at lower speeds is said to save money on longer trips, but will using cruise control help, too? According to Edmunds.com, it will.

As the temperature rises along with the price of gasoline, you may be debating which will give you better fuel economy -- air-conditioning or driving with open windows. When you're stopped for a bridge opening or in a traffic jam, is it better to turn off your car or keep it idling? What do you think? Post continues after video.

Also, there are lots of myths about how to save money on gas. Gasoline-saving products proliferate, but apparently they don't do much good. The Federal Trade Commission lists products tested by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, explaining what the device claims to do and what the EPA found to be true.

 

We want to know what you're doing to save on gas. Do you have any driving secrets to cut your fuel consumption? Are you canceling a planned vacation? Are you flying instead of driving because it’s cheaper? Have you gotten a credit card with rebates on gas? At the bottom of this page, tell us your story or share your tips with us. We may publish your ideas in an upcoming article.

 

More on SavingsAccounts.com and MSN Money:

35Comments
Apr 29, 2011 10:18AM
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I'm doing the same things I was before gas was $4 a gallon.  I don't accelerate to stop lights and signs like 90% of the idiots I see on the road.  If I know I'm going to have to stop, I coast for as long as possible before using my brakes.  Braking is wasted energy, people.  I don't race from stop light to stop light and I drive a fuel effecient vehicle (2009 Civic). 

 

You'd be surprised at how much better your mileage will be if you drive conservatively.

May 2, 2011 12:51PM
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Seriously, how many of you who read this are in a position to make a change. When gas prices here started approaching 4 dollars a gallon, I decided it was time to ride my bike to work. 18 miles both ways for a total of 36 miles daily.
Apr 30, 2011 12:49PM
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I don't freak out and rush out to spend thousands of financed dollars on a new vehicle that gets a few miles per gallon better fuel economy. I mostly ignore the inflated claims and buzz and continue to drive my older but well maintained and reliable vehicles that I can work on and repair myself. Keeping tires inflated and air filters clean and vehicles in tune can also help. Emptying all the unneeded clutter and weight can also prove a plus.

 

May 2, 2011 3:17PM
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I have more of a complaint, but it's something I have not seen many mention thus far.  There is an EPA city/highway rating for a reason, and the reason is that city driving is so inefficient, which is largely due to traffic lights.  How many people have seen a long line of cars have to stop at a traffic light, so that 1 or 2 cars in the perpendicular lanes of travel can cross an intersection?  What a tremendous waste of gas that is! When you drive home tonight, look at the traffic lights and the pattern they operate within.  Is the city using traffic lights as speed control?  Are the timers off such that driving the speed limit, you are hitting each red light instead of green ones?  Cities should be required to install intelligent traffic light timers on all busy intersections, and ensure they are operating to increase efficiency, not be an electronic nanny to regulate speed limits. 
May 2, 2011 3:32PM
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Bought a 22 year old Cushman Truckster to run errands in our small rural community.  It's a former Chicago police vehicle; has a small cab, trunk, windshield wiper, three-speed transmission, insurance, license plate and three wheels!  But, it gets over 50 mpg and a bunch of looks.  Who cares about the looks though?  I just laugh as I pass the gas station.  Fill-ups are $5-6. 
Apr 29, 2011 10:56AM
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I agree with Brian 2273.  I always just coast when I see a light in front turn red, Helps tremendously with fuel efficiency.  I also accelerate at a medium to slow rate.  Keeping the RPM's below 3,000 gives me much better mileage.  Cruise control is a savior.  Granted I do drive in the fast lane, because cruise control doesn't really work in the middle & entry lanes.  Braking is the worst killer of efficiency.  If force my car to shift gears by releasing the gas and constantly watch my RPM's I can get 31mpg in my 06 Passat.  Freeway I can get it to around 36mpg.  Just takes effort.
May 2, 2011 12:30PM
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Moved to downtown Portland and enjoy free light rail and street car access. So I walk and take public transportation. There are zip cars everywhere (including my building). If I need to go out of town or need a car for longer than a few hours, I just and rent a car.

I pay nothing for gas and I still get around fast and efficiently. :)
May 2, 2011 4:23PM
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obama must have seen this coming thats why the elderly didn't get a cost of living last year or year before and probably not next year, i stay home, miss doctors appointments,  but hey all for the good of the oil comapnies
May 2, 2011 4:32PM
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Love Da Orka clearly has no clue how gas prices are set.  Yes, it is odd that gas prices can vary in the same community, happens where I am, but its not the fault of the oil companies.  Good lord dude, educate yourself.  If you want to blame someone of high gas prices then point your blame at Washington.  The oil companies make maybe 2 cents per gallon while the government takes in something like 30 cents per gallon. The government isn't even helping to produce it, they are just taking. 
May 2, 2011 11:15PM
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Basicly I don't drive.  Two years ago I rented my condo that I can't sell.  I use the rent money to live a mile from work.  I walk or bike to work.
May 3, 2011 9:26AM
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I'm voting Obama out of office next year!
May 3, 2011 10:53AM
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I purchased a Chevy Volt.  I did have to spend a bit up font but can now drive back and forth 3 times between charges and have yet to spend a dime on gas.

May 2, 2011 1:53PM
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At the beginning of each week I review all the errands/activities I'll be doing that entails my car.   I then look at my food shopping, banking, gym workouts, visits to friends and/or relatives, etc. and "lump" them logistically.    By coordinating the activities into one or two days it cuts down on time distances and the number of driving miles, thereby saving GAS.
May 3, 2011 10:48AM
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My pickup is parked unless I need to haul something or I need to drive it for work.  I limit my trips away from the house and take my motorcycle when I can.
May 3, 2011 9:43AM
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1) Drive Less.

2) I arrange all of my appointments, shopping, etc. on the same day (takes some scheduling and planning, but worth it).

3) Plan my driving pattern in a circle or semi-circle to my home.

4) Get on the internet to find the cheapest gas in town, go to that gas station (even though it may go against my grain if it's one of the major ones). 

5) Drive under 60 mph, not a lot of quick stops and goes (takes too much gas).

6) Use cruise control as much as possible.

7) Fortunately, or unfortunately, whichever way you may wish to look at it, I had to have my O2 sensors replaced which improved my gas mileage tremendously. (By the way I had an extended warranty, which would have costs me  $1309. costs me $50, frugal me huh?)

May 3, 2011 9:51AM
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When it comes to fuel prices, we are always asked to modify our behavior to somehow help the problem. I have a problem understanding that. I also heard a politician describe Lybia as a country that did not represent a national concern to the US. Yet, the protests in that country--and any hiccup in the Middle East--is enough to cause gas prices over here to go out of control. I don't understand the dissonance between our foreign policy efforts and the unchanged behavior of the ungrateful companies those efforts are aimed to protect. So, rather than trying to convince the state of Maine to establish a substantial commuter or carpooling service, or trying to bike 72 miles each way to work, I would like to suggest that we--all--apply the ingenuity, moxy and perseverance shown by the people of Egypt in seeking and obtaining change. That is, what would happen if we all communicated through social media with each of our friends, and decided not to go to work for an entire week, refusing to use our vehicles or any engine that depends on combustion. I am sure that such an action--hitting the purse of every major company in a domino effect--would get the attention of all the relevant players in this imbroglio. I am convinced that through such unified action is the only way we would get these companies to clean up their act. Is it doable? It only took the discontent of a few and the strong will of many to bring down a decades long regime in Egypt... I think it's worth a try.

May 1, 2011 4:11PM
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 I'm so sick of getting the message, "Your post was blocked because it has a hyperlink or appears similar to spam. Please revise your post and try again." How do people even post to this site?
May 2, 2011 2:10PM
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I work from home once or twice a week
May 3, 2011 10:29AM
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I live  in northern calif  and i am on a fix income. I sold my truck and got a used honda. i am starting to walk to the store on days i can and many days i don't go anywhere. I am looking for work so i try to use the car only when i go for job interviews. this is very hard to do because sometimes my choice is do   i buy groceries or do i get gas. my kids who are grown are going through the same even with jobs. I walk when i can when it comes to getting something from the store its good exercise. i try to plan ahead with trips to farther places or i will meet half way with picking up the grandkids. sometimes if i go to visits i stay over to save gas so i don't have to do the trip twice.

May 3, 2011 9:01AM
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This has been something longer term.  My husband retired several years ago leaving the 40 mile commute and taking a pay cut to half of his income eventually.  What that saved is a 15 minute walk to work or a 3 minute drive or a 8 minute bicycle ride.  Due to other circumstances we moved to a one story dwelling which is located within 15 minutes of groceries, retail, restaurants, etc.  A tank of gas goes for about 2 weeks with picking up the grandkids, errands, and work.  We put bicycles on layaway-storing them until the weather gets a bit warmer.  Depending on weather, we can ride much of the time, get our exercise and still put money on a gas card-can't forget the vacations which we will not give up because there is too much to show the grandkids.  So basically x amount of dollars is budgeted for gasoline which we will use for our trips and ride our Townies like kids.  The reason for the Townies is because for older adults this bike let me ride in an upright position and allows both feet on the ground-safer for the 60's gen.
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