Secrets to Spending Less on Gas

Posted on May 16 2012 - 1:18pm by Tim Eyre

So, maybe these gas-saving tips aren’t “secrets,” but they may have been placed on a dusty shelf inside your long-term memory. Everyone, especially me, needs reminding at times. As you know, gas is getting more expensive, making commutes to work more unpleasant and vacations harder to budget. However, there are some simple ways to use less gas, and they’re free if you remember them!

I’ve gathered some key fuel economy tips for you, plus information to consider when buying a new car. Just so you know, the gas-savings figures cited below are from the U.S. Department of Energy.

Easy Ways to Use Less Fuel

    • Tame the road rage. Unless you’ve committed a criminal act on the road, you aren’t truly a road rager, but you could be an aggressive driver. Do you express yourself on the road by speeding, braking or accelerating rapidly? Most of us do at some point. Aggressive driving is not only dangerous to others, but it can lower your gas mileage by 33 percent on the highway, and by 5 percent in your neighborhood. Keep yourself from being an aggressive driver with some soothing advice from
    • Don’t drive faster than 60 mph. Gas mileage can decrease very quickly when you drive at speeds above 60 mph. Slowing down can save you up to 23 percent on gas. Many of us speed because we’re not paying attention, or because we’re in a hurry. Prevent these problems by using cruise control for highway trips, and by planning ahead to avoid being late.
    • Inflate those tires. Keeping your tires properly inflated may improve gas mileage by more than 3 percent. Plus, tires last longer and are safer when inflated to the proper pressure.
    • Combine your trips. When you take several little trips from a cold start engine, you’re using about double the amount of fuel compared to a longer trip covering the same distance with a warmed-up engine.

Calculate Gas Mileage Before Buying

When you’ve fallen in love with the “perfect” car, it’s too easy to overlook fuel economy. Yet, it’s very wise to pay attention to the fuel efficiency of the vehicle, as well as the sticker price, and awesome sunburst-orange pearly paint. Consider fuel economy, and you could save enough cash to fund a great family vacation after a few years. (That is, if you don’t spend the money on car accessories!)

Here’s an example:

Let’s say Car A gets an average of 20 mpg, while Car B get an average of 30 mpg. If you drive about 12,000 miles a year with gas costing $4.00 a gallon, you’re spending $800 more per year on gas for Car A! If you keep Car A for five years, you’ll spend $4,000 more for gas. And guess what? The summer vacation budget for an average family of four is about $4,000.

Take that vacation instead of burning bills at the pump. Compare the fuel costs of cars you’re considering at Fuel Economy, the government’s official source for information on fuel savings.

Which is more important to you – saving money on fuel or saving the environment?
What do you do to save on gas?

Tim Eyre