10 Ways to Save Money at the Gas Pump
Being a proud owner of a Ford F-150, this hub hits close to home. I LOVE my truck, and best of all its paid for ...so no car payment. But it eats gas. There's no way I would consider trading it in for a hybrid or smaller vehicle, especially if I had to take on a new car payment. But with the prices of gas, I do get hit hard at the gas pump, so I've learned some tricks over the years and figured they would make a great hub. Some of my gas saving tips you may already know, some you may not. I avoided the obvious, such as leaving the AC off and Carpooling. Below is a list of ways to save at the gas pump through ways that you may not have necessarily thought of.
1. Reduce unnecessary items from the trunk. Did you know the FTC estimates that 100 pounds of weight in the trunk can reduce your gas efficiency by 2% ?
2. Reduce drag. If it's summer why is that ski rack still on the roof? Use that luggage rack lately? Reducing drag can significantly increase gas mileage. Being a truck owner, I was actually going to recommend you drive with the tailgate down, but after research and watching this video by the MythBusters, it looks like that may not be the best option, it actually may be the worst. Apparently engineers design and test the trucks with the tailgate up. The best option: use a mesh tailgate.
3. Pump your gas when its cold. Heat causes gas to expand. By filling up in the morning (when the ground is the coolest) you are actually getting a tad bit more gas per gallon.
4. Keep your tank at least half full. Here's a big tip on how to save money at the pump. Gas evaporates faster than you may think. Ever get into your car the next morning and swear you had almost a quarter of a tank the night before? By keeping more gas and less air in your tank, you slow down the evaporation process. Also very important? Keep you car or truck cool. Park in the shade. A hot car will have a hot gas tank. A hot gas tank will evaporate more gas...
5. Don't accelerate fast when you see that green light. It's not a drag race. And many times your just accelerating into the next red light. Learn to anticipate the lights, glide into them and try to hit the intersection as it turns green. Obviously traffic plays a big role in this one, but I see it all the time. The minivan that screams from the gate when the light turns green only to meet me at the next red light, which I glide into. Then the light turns green and I coast past....
6. Don't hold the trigger all the way down when pumping gas. Okay, I'll admit it, this one takes patience. But, it has been proven that the faster the gas is flowing, the more gas vapor is produced. That gas vapor is lost money. Your lost money.
7. Don't pump gas when the delivery truck is delivering gas. This really isn't a tip on how to save money, but I thought it was noteworthy nonetheless. That gas station delivery truck while filling up the underground gas tanks, is stirring up all kinds of dirt and sediment off the bottom of the underground tanks. You don't want that sediment in your gas tank. Drive on to the next station!
8. Maintain your vehicle. Okay, these few tips may be obvious but I wanted to remind you of some of the most important ways you can save money at the pump.
- Keep your tires inflated at the recommended level. The FTC estimates that by keeping your tires properly inflated and aligned, you can increase fuel efficiency by 3%.
- Get your oil changed. This is not only important for the longevity of your engine, but clean oil actually creates less friction. Less friction means better fuel economy.
- Change your spark plugs! Can you remember the last time you did? Dirty plugs not only effect the performance of your vehicle, but greatly effect how fuel efficient your engine is.
9. Plan your trips in advance. Google maps, Droid and Iphone apps, navigation systems. Think about your day, the chores you have to run, and spend 5 or ten minutes mapping your route. Your not only saving money on gas, your saving time and getting more done.
10. Get up early for work. This not only saves you gas, but saves your nervous system! Depending on your commute, you may be able to "just miss" that morning rush as well. You'll be able to drive at a normal pace, and you'll end up being a bit more relaxed when you show up for work. Is that not a better way to start your work day? Plus, if you show up early, you may be able to leave a bit early, so you can "just miss" the traffic going home.