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How to Save Gas While Driving: Fuel Saving Tips for Frugal Drivers
When you Save Gas, You Save Money
Are you living on a budget? Have bills to pay? Do you use coupons to save extra cash?
Most of us will answer yes to some, if not all of these questions. Yet, we usually just hop in our cars and drive all over the place, griping about the cost of fuel without doing much about it.
Its easy to save gas and save money, however. There are a number of fuel saving tips for frugal drivers looking to extend the time between trips to the pump and keep a little cash in their wallets for other expenses.
As discussed below, all it takes is a little planning ahead, proper vehicle maintenance and obeying the speed limits, and you can see your monthly fuel bills drop by as much as 10%. Walk, bicycle or carpool more often, and your savings can increase even more!
Driving frugally requires developing habits that are beneficial to all of us by increasing safety, reducing the number of cars on the road, and cutting carbon emissions.
Ready to keep more money in your pocket each month? Read on for helpful tips and advice!
Top 10 Ways to Save Gas: Fuel Saving Tips
There are two primary ways to pay less at the pump: (1) improve fuel economy; and (2) drive less often and/or fewer miles.
The most frugal drivers will use most, if not all of these fuel saving tips to save gas:
- Maintain proper tire pressure
- Perform regular vehicle maintenance (change oil, air filters, etc.)
- Refrain from speeding - if you have a leadfoot, you waste more gas
- Gradually accelerate and decelerate - no sudden starts and stops
- Reduce weight in your vehicle
- Drive at off-peak traffic times
- Consolidate errands and other trips
- Carpool if you can with other drivers
- Use mass transit
- Walk or bicycle to destinations within a mile (or more!)
AAA Has Great Tips to Help You Save Gas
Proper Vehicle Maintenance to Save Gas
When you car runs smoothly, it doesn't have to work as hard. It makes perfect sense, yet many people underestimate or overlook the importance of vehicle maintenance when it comes to saving fuel. Many of these tips are so inexpensive, you'll reap immediate monthly savings in your gas bill.
By keeping your tires inflated, with proper tire pressure, the vehicle will more easily roll over the road surface, requiring less energy/fuel. Think about riding a bicycle: if your tires are flat, its harder to pedal and you move more slowly. When it comes to your car, it is also working harder to travel the same speed/distance with soft tires.
Changing the oil and air filters and performing vehicle maintenance every 3,000 miles (about 4 times a year) similarly improves fuel efficiency by ensuring that your car is performing its best. Some people even swear that keeping the exterior of their vehicle clean cuts down on drag, which helps extend the time between visits to the pump.
Imagine that - simply by being a more diligent vehicle owner, you can end up saving significant money over time as you head to the gas pump less often.
How Much Fuel can you Save by Reducing Vehicle Weight?
The more your vehicle weighs, the more fuel it will need. Check your trunk and remove extra shoes, bags, golf clubs and the like. You'll end up saving gas, as well as find an extra $10-40 in your wallet each month.
The EPA says that for every 100 pounds taken out of the vehicle, the fuel economy is increased by 1-2 percent.
These savings can definitely add up on long-distance family drives. So pack light!
Go with a smaller, lighter car, as well. According to a report by the Aluminum Association:
Eliminating 10% of the weight of a car with a 1.6 liter engine results in a 4.1 percent mileage boost, based on the EPA rating, and a dramatic 20% weight decrease improved fuel economy by 8.4 percent.
In short, cut down on weight and cut down on gas.
Drive Smart and Within the Speed Limit to Save Fuel
Admittedly, it took me some time to get on board with this fuel saving tip. I like to get where I am going - quickly. But, having a lead foot just means you'll pay more at the pump because the faster you drive, the more you reduce your gas mileage.
I was shocked to find out just how much fuel you can save by driving within the speed limit! The United States Department of Energy estimates that at a baseline gasoline cost of $3.00 per gallon, you will pay the equivalent of an extra 28 cents per gallon for every 5 miles per hour (mph) you drive over 60 mph. On the other hand, sticking to speed limits can boost fuel economy by as much as 23%. Not only that, but its safer, as well!
One way to help you stay within posted speed limits and save gas is to use cruise control, if possible.
You can also save money by driving smart. Avoid sudden acceleration or deceleration by anticipating traffic signals and stop signs and slowing down beforehand. Use gravity to help you pick up speed on downhills, as well. Alternatively pressing the gas pedal and the brake is an enormous waste of fuel, particularly in heavy traffic situations, which is why driving at off-peak times can also save fuel and money. Finally, don't "gun it," or "floor it," when you get the green light to proceed.
More Fuel Saving Tips
Plan Trips and Errands to Save Fuel
I'm a busy mom of four, with a part-time job and all of my children participate in extracurricular activities. If I didn't plan my trips, I would easily be racking up the miles traveling the same roads numerous times each day.
When I schedule an appointment with a client, I consider the area of town in which I will be in and plan additional stops to any nearby businesses I need to make that week (grocery store, dry cleaner, post office, etc.) I follow the same routine when its time to drop off or pick up my kids.
This fuel saving tip can be taken to the next level if you work with your friends, your children's friends parents, or neighbors to consolidate trips and carpool. For example, offer to drive 1-2 additional kids to swim team and have another parent drive home. Or, if you and your neighbor both have books to return to the public library, only one of you should make the trip!
There are even Ride Share programs you can find on the Internet or phone book that will help you find people that commute to the same area of town, or who have appointments in locations the same as you. Some municipalities, organizations and universities offer carpool incentive programs to give you reductions on parking, fuel vouchers and more. Another bonus? Using carpool/HOV lanes on roads and freeways to get you to your destination without getting stuck in traffic.
Instead of taking two single-occupancy vehicles, you can consolidate the trips, saving money on fuel and perhaps making a new friend!
Use Ride Share and Save Gas
Drive Less to Save Fuel
It goes without saying that people who drive less save more at the gas pump. Such a common sense concept, and relatively easy to achieve, its surprising that more of us do not take this simple frugal step.
If you live within 1-2 miles of your destination, consider walking. The extra exercise is good for you, and fresh air can even help improve your mood. You can also consider alternative transportation such as bicycling, boating, roller skating, using an electric scooter to get to school or work. Mass transit (buses, ferries, trains, subways) is also an option in most municipalities.
Don't forget Ride Share and carpooling!
Could You Be a More Frugal Driver?
Switch to an Electric Vehicle or Hybrid Electric Vehicle
To go to the next level and save even more gas than possible with a traditional internal combustion engine, switch to an electric vehicle or hybrid electric vehicle. Many people believe that these battery-powered cars are the future, and the future is here now.
Plug in hybrid electric vehicles can recharge in 4-8 hours (faster with some rapid charging stations) and have impressive ranges without the need for any - or limited - fossil fuels. Manufacturers have responded to many stated concerns of consumers, including design, range, power, and time required to recharge. For frugal drivers, the return on investment for a new EV is quite impressive. As discussed in a related article:
Owners of electric vehicles stand to save $60,000 in fuel costs, not to mention significant strides in reducing global warming and improving health. The EPA estimates that the average American drives 33 miles a day, which is about 12,000 miles each year. With an average mpg (miles per gallon) rating of 23, you can estimate that an American car will use over 530 gallons of gasoline each year. Now, let’s factor in a cost of nearly $4 per gallon, and the overall cost [can be] $2000-2500 annually [by running on electricity rather than gasoline]....
With solar-powered carports and garages springing up around the world, people with electric vehicles can also have convenient, inexpensive (even free) and environmentally-friendly alternatives for powering their means of transportation, instead of fossil fuels.
Why not drive green to save green?
© 2012 Stephanie Hicks