The mysterious, apparently random fluctuations in gas prices throughout the year can leave you scratching your head in confusion and frustration as you try to maintain a consistent fuel budget. Here are a few easy ways to save gas while driving, no matter what the price is at the pump.
1. Clean Up Your Driving Habits
If you drive erratically and insist on being a speed demon, you’re already at risk of getting into accidents, getting ticketed or both. On top of that, you’re also wasting a ton of gas. Cutting down your highway speeds by just five miles per hour can slash fuel consumption significantly, and it puts you back on the right side of the law. Being mindful of the way you stop and start keeps acceleration and deceleration smooth, which also reduces how much fuel you burn on every trip.
2. Take Care of Your Vehicle
You don’t want to be that guy grinding down the road in a car or truck belching black smoke out the exhaust while an unholy roar sounds from under the hood. Those are signs that maintenance has been let go for way too long! For the best possible fuel economy—and to keep your car from dying long before its time—schedule regular tune-ups with your mechanic. Getting the oil and filters changed and any apparent problems fixed can improve engine performance, cut down on gas consumption and promote the longevity of your car’s working parts.
3. Mind the Tires
Under-inflating your tires by just 10 psi can mean losing 1.3 miles for every gallon of gas if you’re driving an average midsize sedan at highway speeds. If the tires are also improperly aligned, you’re losing out twice over. Poor alignment makes the engine work harder, which in turn uses up more fuel. Plus, your tires will wear out faster and require replacement sooner. That’s an expense you really don’t want to face before you have to!
4. Dump Extra Junk
We’re all guilty of putting something in the trunk or back seat that we intend to take out later but never get around to. Keep this up, and your car becomes a roaming depository of interesting—but expensive—junk. Why expensive? Hauling around extra weight reduces fuel economy, so the more you hoard, the more you spend. One of the easiest tips to save on gas is to just bite the bullet and clean the junk out.
Get rid of things you carry on the roof, too. Unless you’re on a road trip and need the extra space to pack your gear, there’s no reason to have anything hitching a ride over your head, where all it does is add drag and drive your gas bills higher.
5. Get an App
Apps make it possible to find the cheapest gas prices in your area with just a few taps. Try GasBuddy or GasGuru to compare prices at nearby stations, or get fancy with route optimization features from Route4Me. You can also try out Waze, which will point you toward cheap fuel while helping you avoid tolls and alerting you of accidents and other potential problems along the way.
Although you might never be able to work out exactly what’s happening with gas prices, these fuel-saving tips for your car can help you keep a little more money in your wallet. It all comes down to smart driving and proper car care, both worthwhile investments that pay off with not only better fuel economy but also longer life for your vehicle.
About the Author
Theresa “Sam” Houghton is a writer, speaker and health coach from Troy, NY. She’s a regular contributor to NutritionStudies.org, and her work has appeared in the Honest Weight Food Co-Op Coop Scoop, Natural Awakenings Magazine and the NutritionFacts.org 2017 Daily Dozen calendar. She has been a featured guest on Focus on Albany, WMAC’s Food Friday and the Just Ask David podcast. When she's not writing or cooking, Sam likes to read and study the Bible, cook tasty plant-based food and knit socks.You can find out more about Sam at GreenGutWellness.com.