Latley, gas prices are constantly fluctuating, for the better or worse. Nonetheless, its never a bad idea to minimize the amount of money you are spending at the pump. More often than not the shape you keep your car in, and the amount of time you spend maintaining it factors into the efficiency of the gas you do put in it. Below are some tips to keep the tab low at the gas station, and to keep your car in great overall condition.
Purchasing the gasoline
- Find the cheapest gas in your neighborhood. Websites like Gasbuddy.com, Gasprices.mapquest.com, and GasNearU.com will show you the fuel stations with the lowest prices in your neighborhood simply by entering your zipcode.
- Avoid over-filling, or filling your gas tank to the top. This results in the gasoline overflowing out of the gas tank, and onto the concrete. If the nozzle is automatic, don't fill the tank past the first click
- Be wary of products and gadgets that promise to save you gas. Check out the Federal Trade Commissions (FTC) website "Gas-Saving Products: Fact or Fuelishness"
- Buy the right gas for your car. The majority of vehicles on the road operate just fine on the cheapest "regular octane" gasoline. The FTC also has a website, The Low-Down on High Octane Gasoline, regarding this.
Maintaining your Vehicle
- Change your air filter every 10,000 miles. Your car needs the ability to suck in air without any restrictions.
- Replace your spark plugs. Dirty and missing spark plugs waste fuel. These parts were made to be replaced often.
- Inspect to make sure your alignment is correct. Bent wheels, and bad shocks are not only unsafe, but not fuel efficient.
- Get your car tuned. A tuned engine gets your car about 1 extra mile per gallon.
- Ensure your tires are properly inflated. Tires that are not at the right pressure can cost you 1-2 miles per gallon
- Accelerate when approaching an incline, not while on the incline.
- Don't speed! -When you exceed 60 MPH
- Park your car so you can exit forward. Backing up and reversing to exit a parking spot use more gasoline.
- Turn off your car if you are going to be idle for more than 30 seconds. For example, turn the engine OFF if your going to be waiting 15 minutes for the kids to get out of school.
- Keep the windows rolled up on the highway. This causes "wind drag" when they are down, and it can decrease gas mileage by 10%
- Remove any excess cargo from your vehicle. An extra 100 pounds can decrease fuel efficiency by 2%
- If you have a manual vehicle, avoid travelling fast speeds and low gears. This can consume a whopping 45% more gasoline than needed.
- Try and avoid dirt and gravel roads, in addition to the obvious wear and tear of the vehicle frequent travel on rough road does, it decreases your gas mileage 25-30%
- Allow your automatic transmission to "cool down" periodically.
- Avoid "jackrabbit" starts. These abrupt starts use almost twice the amount of gasoline as a regular start-up.
- Use the A/C with caution! Using it can deplete your gas mileage by up to two miles.
- Utilize your local public transit. Besides the usual city bus system, there may be carpools, vanpools, and rail systems you don't even know exist in your area.
- Plan your trips! Do all your daily errands at one set time during the day.
- Carpool - Whether it be with a co-worker who lives on the same side of town with your, or taking turns dropping off and picking up a group of children with your neighbors, you and the other participants of the carpool will reap the benefits of saving fuel costs and the chore of constantly being in the driver's seat
- If your just going down the street to pick up something from the gas station or neighborhood store try biking or walking.
Now if we could only figure out a way to improve our road rage...