Experts on the cost of gasoline are in disagreement about how high gas prices will rise before the summer driving season. Some anticipate the national average gas price to go above $4 per gallon, while others think gas prices peaked in March. What we do know for sure is that if you comparison shop, you can get the best deal at the gas pump. Just like with groceries, appliances, and many other purchases, you should compare gas prices in order to get the best deal. Comparing gas prices is easy with the technology in place today. You don’t have to ride around looking at prices on the sign. Instead, there are various free online services that post current gas prices at the stations near you. Using these services will make comparison shopping for gas easy and convenient and will help you save money on transportation costs in your monthly budget.
Other ways to save on gas and avoid pain at the gas pump
Ok, so you did some comparison shopping for your most recent tank of gas? Great. Now that you are back behind the wheel, here are some other tips to conserve gas while you drive. These pointers will help limit how much gas you burn up in your car, and will help you save money on gas by helping you avoid frequent trips to the gas pump.
Driving tips to save on gas
Avoid high speeds
As your speed increases, your aerodynamic drag increases. Driving 62 mph (100 km/h) vs 75 mph (120 km/h) reduces fuel consumption by about 15%.
Do not accelerate quickly or brake abruptly
By anticipating the traffic and applying slow, steady acceleration and braking, your fuel economy may increase by as much as 20%.
Use A/C sparingly
When the A/C is on it puts extra load on the engine forcing more fuel to be used (about 20% more). The defrost function on most vehicles also uses the air conditioner, so limit this too. (We understand that it may be difficult to limit these during times of extreme heat or cold).
Keep windows closed
Having the windows open, especially at highway speeds, increases drag and results in decreased fuel economy of up to 10%.
Use cruise control
Maintaining a constant speed over long distances often saves gas. Your vehicle has to do less work switching speeds, leading to better fuel efficiency.
Avoid heavy loads
Remove extra items from your vehicle and pack lightly for long trips. As a rule, every 100 pounds added to your vehicle results in a loss of half a mile per gallon.
Maintenance tips to save on gas
Keep tires properly inflated
Keep tire air pressure at the level recommended by your vehicle manufacturer. A single tire under inflated by 2 PSI increases fuel consumption by 1%.
Service vehicle regularly
Proper maintenance will help avoid poor fuel economy related to dirty air filters, old spark plugs or low fluid levels. Consult your vehicle’s manual for information regarding service and parts replacement. Also, remember that you may be able to save on the transportation costs in your monthly budget if you can do some maintenance on your own. If you take your vehicle to a service station, be sure to comparison shop first—just like when you compare gas prices.
If you compare gas prices, chances are you will end up paying less at the gas pump. But don’t forget these other ways to save, too. Be a smart driver and remember to keep your car well-maintained. Doing these things will help save money on transportation costs and will leave more funds to spend on other parts of your monthly budget. We hope these tips are helpful. If you would like more financial assistance, including the opportunity to speak with a non-profit credit counselor, get started today!