7 Tips to Help You Save Money on Gas
Even though gas prices can make travel daunting, getting from one place to another is essential. While gas prices continue to fluctuate, there are a few tried and true tips to help you save money at the pump.
1. Try using public transportation.
That’s right, the best way to save money on gas is to… avoid using it!1 If, for instance, your city has a robust public transit system, take some time to plan your route when you won’t be needing your car for groceries or anything heavy. And speaking of groceries, combining as many errands into one trip can help you be more fuel-efficient as well because it doesn’t take as much gas to fire up a warm engine that’s already been driving versus spreading out errands over several days.3 . Even a local bike share program can be a great way to save on gas while getting a little extra exercise.
2. Don’t be an aggressive driver.
When you’re running late, it may seem like a good idea to drive more aggressively, alternating between accelerating rapidly and then braking suddenly. In addition to likely not getting to your destination any faster, you are also wasting a lot of fuel in the process – between 15-30 percent on the highway and 10-40 percent in normal traffic.2. In fact, you can also save gas by choosing a route to your destination that has the fewest stoplights and stop signs to avoid frequent braking and acceleration. 3
3. Keep your car in tip-top shape to improve gas mileage.
In addition to keeping you and your passengers safe, maintaining your vehicle can also go a long way when it comes to saving money on gas. If you think your fuel economy isn’t what it should be, check with your mechanic to see if any of the following are creating an issue:
- Air filter – Keeping clean engine air filters is key to maintaining good gas mileage.4
- Oil – Make sure you are using the correct oil for your vehicle (this information is located in your owner’s manual). The wrong oil can overwork your engine, causing it to use more gas. 4
- Tires – Your owner’s manual will also tell you the appropriate tire pressure for your tires, and when your tires have the right amount of pressure, you don’t need as much gas to move forward. 1
4. Don’t idle your vehicle.
Decades ago, warming up the engine took a while, but modern vehicles don’t need more than 30 seconds to a minute to get warmed up and ready to drive. 3 . If you think about it, idling means you’re literally getting zero miles per gallon, which is, of course, the worst gas mileage possible. When you’re in a safe place, shut off the engine if you’ll be waiting a minute or more and restart the car when you’re ready to drive again. 1
5. Remove excess weight to help save money on gas.
If you forget to remove large items from your back seat or your trunk, you’ve been driving around excess cargo, requiring more power to move forward, and losing gas mileage in the process. In fact, you lose around one to two percent of your fuel economy for every 100 extra pounds of weight in your car. 1 Remove all the extra items you’ve been driving around and see the savings.
6. Reduce drag.
It may sound dramatic but there are forces at work that reduce your fuel efficiency – namely drag or anything on your vehicle that can work against airflow.5 Making your vehicle as aerodynamic as possible will ensure you’re doing all you can to save money on gas. For instance, if you use luggage racks, consider removing them, or at least any overhead storage boxes, until they are needed. Cargo boxes on your roof can reduce your fuel economy anywhere from 2 - 25 percent. 2 Keeping your windows closed also helps to reduce drag 1 (and keeps the other drivers on your commute from hearing you singing along to the radio!).
7. Don’t wait until the last minute.
When your tank is just about empty, you might get stuck refilling with expensive gas rather than risk running out completely. On a long drive or a road trip, some clever planning could save you quite a bit at the gas pump. Gas stations near the highway are almost always more expensive, but if you look in advance, you might find a filling station a little farther from the road that isn’t charging as much. 3 . Also, think about how you save money on gas at home. Many people belong to savings clubs or use savings cards for various grocery store chains that also offer gasoline. By finding locations of your grocery store along your route, you might find that you can fill up without breaking the bank.6
PLUS, how to save money on fuel before your next road trip.
Find a gas station near you that accepts the Synchrony Car CareTM credit card with our locator online here or with the Synchrony Car Care mobile app.
- How to Reduce Fuel Consumption Cars Direct
- Gas Mileage Tips US Department of Energy
- How to Save Money on Gas for Your Car Money Crashers
- 8 Ways to Reduce Your Fuel Costs GPS Heroes
- IE Questions: Do I Use More Gas In My Car Running The A/C, Or With The Windows Down? Inside Energy
- Road trip advice: New ways to find the cheapest gas USA Today
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