Even though gas is cheaper today than it was even a year ago, many people are still looking for ways that they can cut the costs at the pump. If you’re not worried about the prices of gas right now, you might still want some tips up your sleeve to make sure that you keep this section of your budget under control. Here are ten of the best fuel saving tips you might not have thought of:
1. Buy a car that has better fuel economy. If you are driving a fifteen-year-old junker, you are probably not getting very good gas mileage, even if the rest of the car is working relatively well. Older cars are heavier and many were not built with a concern about how much gas they were using. When you switch your old junker in for a brand new Kia, for example, you will be buying a car that has much better gas mileage. You’ll see your trips to the pump decrease. Instead of having to go every single weekend, you’ll only have to go every other or perhaps only once a month!
2. Unload your vehicle. What do you have in your trunk? Have you put things in your trunk and forgotten to take them out? Hundreds of pounds of stuff could accumulate in your trunk and backseat if you are not careful, weighing down your vehicle and making it have to work much harder to propel itself forward. When you unload your vehicle, you’ll make it much easier to get where you want to go, so your car will use less gas getting there.
3. Get your checkup. If all you ever do is get your oil changed, you are probably not giving your car enough attention. Like any machine, it needs regular maintenance to remain in proper working order. If you don’t give it the maintenance it needs, not only are you eventually going to see a catastrophic breakdown that is going to be very expensive to repair, you are also going to see a steep decrease in your gas mileage, even if you started out with a brand new car that has great fuel economy.
4. Don’t idle. Do you go out in the morning and turn your car on so it can warm up in the winter? Do you turn it on and leave it alone for a few minutes to cool off in the summer? Even if you only idle for a few minutes every day, you are going to be using up precious gas and not actually going anywhere with it. While idling is sometimes going to be inevitable (like in unforeseen traffic or at stop lights), don’t actively choose to idle.
5. Walk instead. You might a car to help you get around, so why would you walk? Because walking to close-by destinations is not only better for your body, it’s also better for your fuel economy. Short, slow trips around town will significantly hurt your gas mileage, so much so that it is actually worth your money to put on your shoes and walk down to the corner store, instead of getting in your car and driving.
6. Work from home one day a week. This isn’t an option for everyone, but if your job is largely computer based or is something you can do just as well from your kitchen table as you can from your desk in the office, consider asking your boss if you can work from home once a week instead of coming in. This would be contingent of your ability to actually get done what you need to do, but if your boss agrees, you could save yourself a whole commute’s worth of gas!
7. Don’t buy premium gas. Unless you are driving a high octane racing machine, your vehicle does not need the premium gas. If you are buying the more expensive gas because you think it is going to help your car perform better, it just isn’t. Unless your owner’s manual tells you to only buy the premium unleaded fuel, your car is designed to run on plain old regular gas and is getting absolutely no benefit from the extra money that you are spending.
8. Get rid of extra accessories. Does your vehicle, for example, have a roof rack that you never use? If the answer is yes, you might find it prudent to remove the roof rack. This will make your car lighter, which will make it more fuel efficient. If your car has other extra accessories that you do not regularly use, don’t be afraid to remove them.
9. Learn to stop better. When you see a red light ahead, do you continue to drive at full speed towards it and then brake only when you absolutely have to? Or do you coast to a smooth stop at the white line? If you do the first, you are wasting gas. If you do the second, you are saving it. Not only will this tip help you save gas, it will also help your brakes live longer, more functional lives.
10. Check your tire pressure. Having tire pressure that is too low could be costing you precious miles when it comes to fuel economy. The more work that your vehicle has to do to propel itself forward, the more gas it is going to use. When your tires are underinflated, it has to work harder. This doesn’t mean, however, that you should overinflate your tires to get better gas mileage, as this is just as dangerous.