Tips For Saving Money on Gasoline
Gas prices have dropped some since the month or so it was in the $4 per gallon range, but that doesn't mean we need to get careless about saving money on gasoline. I cringe every time I fill up our van, because it is a minimum of $70. Even with lower prices, it is still worthwhile to try to save money on gasoline. Everything you save is money you get to keep in your pocket to do other things with. To me that is plenty of motivation.
Have you checked your trunk lately? What kinds of extra things do you have back there? For me recently it was six big fold up chairs that we needed three times a week at kids activities. Before that it was a 40 pound bag of dog food I had asked my husband to take out for me. I thought he had done it and a week later I discovered it still there. All this added weight just makes your car work harder. If your car is working harder then it is using more gas than it should be if it weren't hauling around a bunch of extra weight.
I hear mixed things about whether you should drive with your windows up and have the air conditioner on or if your windows should be down with the air conditioner off. Well, I think if you are on the highway having the windows down will create a lot of drag which will make your car work harder. If you are just driving around town at a slower speed, it is probably better to keep your windows down and your air conditioner off.
One of the best things you can do to reduce your gasoline consumption is to lower your speed, especially on the highway. This is a hard one for me, because if I see the speed limit is 65, then I go 75. I am trying to slow down, because anything over 60 your car has to work really hard and if your car is working hard, it is using a lot of fuel. You should also accelerate slowly, because gunning it (even though it sounds cool and you feel powerful) uses a lot of gasoline. So drive the speed limit and accelerate slowly.
Make sure you keep your car in good shape. Change your oil regularly and replace your fuel filter when your car's handbook says you should. Making sure your car is taken care of and running smoothly means your car doesn't have to work as hard, which will save fuel.
When should you fill up? In the summer it is best to fill up in the morning or evening. The hotter it is the more fumes evaporate when filling up, which means you are paying for more gas than you are actually getting. I don't think it matters so much when it is cold outside. Also, if you see a fuel tanker there loading the gas into the tanks underground - don't fill up. When they are filling up these tanks, all the gunk and stuff that had settled to the bottom of those tanks is now getting mixed up with the clean fuel. The cleaner the fuel, the better your car will run, so bypass that station and find one that isn't being refilled.
Don't rule out programs that offer discounts on gasoline or give you credit towards gas purchases. These can really save you money on gasoline. I have a local grocery store that offers $.10 off per gallon of fuel for every $50 in groceries purchased. I don't purchase everything there, but I do most of my shopping there and I earn $.40 or so each month off my fuel purchase. I have a 26 gallon tank, which translates into a $10.40 savings per month. Some credit cards offer a discount on fuel purchases and some gas stations have started giving a discount if you pay in cash. So be sure to investigate all options when trying to find ways to save money on fuel.
If you are in the market for a new car, try to get one that is more fuel efficient than what you currently have. It isn't usually a good idea to buy a new car just to save money on gas, but if you were already going to then this would work for you. If you currently have a gas guzzler and a long commute, it might be a smart choice to get a small, fuel efficient car for commuting purposes. You could save several hundred dollars a month on gasoline.
I do have to mention one of the best ways to save money on gasoline - don't drive. It probably isn't possible all the time, but try staying home more. Combine your errands or walk or bike to do them. Can you carpool to work? A person typically drives the farthest just to get to work. I know several people in my neighborhood that work at the same place 30 minutes away. I haven't figured out why they don't carpool, but they don't. This can be a huge money saver and hopefully it would make the commute a little more bearable.
Even with the prices dropping before the election, I think it is still smart to conserve your gasoline usage. It is better for the environment, better for America and better for your wallet. There are many things you can do to save money on gasoline and I hope try some of these ideas to help you. Good luck and drive less!
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