- Personal Finance
Top Ten Tips to save money on gas
Gas prices keep going up and they almost doubled just in the past couple of years. Gasoline costs more than $4 per gallon today and experts say it will keep going up. People are spending hundreds of dollars on gas just for commuting to work. Many employers are encouraging their employees to work from home and do telecommuting to cut down their carbon footprint and going green. When buying a new car, it is common to factor in the gas costs and more people are shelling out the extra money to buy a hybrid, a fuel efficient car or even a motorcycle or a scooter. It is summer and people drive a lot during this season. It is important that you are aware of ways to save money on gas using simple techniques. There are simple things that you can practice to improve the fuel consumption of your beloved car. I have listed my top ten tips to save money on gas.
How to save money on gas?
1. Car tuneup: The best way to reduce fuel consumption is to keep your car healthy. One of the simple things that most people don't do is to keep the tires inflated properly. Underinflated tires make the car consume more gas and also causes the tires to wear quickly. Also, get a car tuneup at your trustworthy mechanic shop.
2. Carpool: You can save significant amount of money by participating in carpool rather than driving alone. Carpool also has other benefits. It lowers commute stress and enjoy your ride as well. It also saves money on parking and car maintenance. Many insurance companies offer discounts on car insurance if you prove you are in a carpooling program and do not use your car for work or school.
3. Buy the cheapest gas: Buy the lowest grade of gas that is suggested in your car owner's maual. The price difference is about 20 cents between the lowest grade and the high octane gas. This will save you hundreds of dollars per year. As long as your engine does not "knock", you are fine with the lower grade fuel. Do not forget to use fuel injection cleaner.
4. Use the internet to find the cheapest gas in your area. Websites like GasBuddy, MapQuest helps you find the lowest gas prices in your area. Use these sites to save money on gas. Do not drive too far or do not wait in long lines to save something like 2 cents per gallon.
5. Credit cards: There are credit cards that give upto 5% cashback on gas purchases. Get a good credit card with no annual fees and use it for gas. However, if the gas stations charge more if you use credit cards, pay with cash to save that extra money.
6. Fill up when your gas tank is less than quarter tank full and fill up to a full gas tank to avoid making additional trips. Filling your gas tank in the early morning (when the air temperature is low) may not give you more gas.
7. Smart driving: Do not make sudden stops or start your engine fast. Your car engine will consume more gas everytime you do this. Gradual acceleration and decelaration makes your engine run better and consume less fuel and save money. Watch your speed. Driving at 60 mph rather than 80 mph will save you money by improving your fuel economy. Gas evaporates easily especially in summer time, so do not forget to tightly close the gas cap. Do not use air conditioning unless it is needed. Use of AC can lower your fuel economy by 10 percent.
8. Consolidate your trips: Avoid making many short trips. Instead make a plan of your route before you leave your house and take the shortest possible trip to save money on gas.
9. Drive lightweight: Do you know mpg decreases as the car engine hauls more weight? Take the unnecessary heavy stuff from your car (don't forget to check the trunk) and make your car happy.
10. Car shopping: If you are shopping for a new car, buy a fuel efficient car to save money on gas. Consider buying a smaller car as they are lighter and give better mileage and is perfect for students. Hybrid cars give excellent gas mileage and also tax benefits. Consider buying a motorcycle or a scooter instead of a car. Many of my colleagues bought used scooters at cheap prices just to ride to work and are very happy with it. Scooters give 70 miles per gallon and can go up to 60 miles per hour speeds.
Myths about saving money on gasoline
With gasoline prices so high, many drivers are trying to adopt ways to reduce the amount of gas their car uses. In an attempt to achieve that goal, don't follow for the following myths or you will be in fact spending more money on gas.
Here are some gas saving myths that many drivers think save money on gas by rducing gas consumption. You should know these to make sure you are truly saving money on gas.
1. Products claiming to increase gas mileage: Read about these "terrific" products on the internet and their reviews before shelling out money. Buy the wrong products and you won't be saving money on gas.
2. Turn off the AC: It does not help to save money on gas.
3. Warm up the car: No need to spend 10 minutes warming up your car on a cold morning, if you are going to be sitting for more than a half minute, you will save more gas by turning the engine off than letting it continue to run.
4. Higher octane gas is better: Not necessarily true. Your driver's manual will list the recommended level of octane, which will usually be the lowest.
5. Fill up gas in the morning: This myth is based on the science that gas is denser when it is cool out than in the heat of the day. The logic goes that purchasing gas in the morning, when it is cool, will mean you get more in your tank than if you buy it in the heat of the afternoon, because gas pumps measure volume and not density of the fuel. The problem is that the gas is stored in underground tanks, so the heat of the day has little effect on the gas temperature, meaning you can purchase gas at any time and get virtually the same amount.
But there is one reason you might want to buy gas in the morning. If you believe gas prices are going to be rising, most gas stations don't change their daily price until 8 a.m. or so, meaning you still can get the previous day's price in the early morning.
6. Overinflated tires will save gas: The logic is that if underinflated tires waste gas and properly inflated tires get better mileage because of less tread contact on the road, over inflated tires would have even less tread contact, which would increase mileage. Popular Mechanics tested this theory and found that it didn't provide any added benefit and that it was dangerous.
Increasing your fuel efficiency as much as possible is sensible, but make sure that you don't buy into the myths that can be dangerous and you will spending more money and energy instead of saving money on gas.
News video on how to save money on gas
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