How to Save Money on Gas
Whether gas prices are steady, rising, or declining, it's always a good idea to go the extra mile to become a more fuel–efficient driver. Here are some tips to help you save money at the pump:
Use Apps to Find the Cheapest Gas
Take advantage of websites and apps like Gas Buddy and Waze that track the price of gasoline at stations in your area. Gas prices vary by state, even within miles of nearby gas stations.
Join a Fuel Rewards Program
Check if your favorite gas station or grocery store offers a credit card or fuel reward program that discounts gas prices for loyal customers. Rules and conditions may differ on spending limits, so read them carefully.
Try a Club Membership for Discounted Gas Prices
Membership-only retail warehouses such as BJ's Wholesale Club, Costco Wholesale, and Sam's Club offer discounted gas prices at select store locations.
Some gas stations charge a lower price for cash customers. By avoiding credit card processing, proprietors can pass the savings to you.
Avoid rapid acceleration
You use more gas when accelerating, so gently increase your speed to improve fuel efficiency.
Follow the Speed Limit
Driving the speed limit will help your gas mileage. Traveling faster means more wind resistance, reducing your fuel efficiency. Consider using cruise control on interstates or main highways in clear, dry weather for long trips to manage your speed and fuel economy better.
Regularly Service Your Vehicle
Proper maintenance on your vehicle will improve your fuel economy. For example, a faulty oxygen sensor can reduce your fuel economy by up to 40%, according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Have your mechanic check your car's spark plugs during routine maintenance or inspection. If they're dirty, replace them; otherwise, your engine won't operate at maximum capacity, hurting fuel usage.
Idling your car while parked can use up to a half gallon of gas per hour. The U.S. Department of Energy estimates that 3 billion gallons of fuel are wasted each year through idling by personal auto drivers. Idling frequently occurs at bank and fast–food drive–throughs. If the lines are long, consider parking and going inside.
Check Tire Pressure
Underinflated tires can lower your gas mileage and cause your tires to wear unevenly.
According to the U.S. Department of Energy, properly inflated tires can boost gas mileage by about 3%. Check your tire pressure once a month and keep them inflated to the manufacturer's specifications.
Lighten Your Load
Keep your trunk light. According to the EPA, an extra 100 pounds of cargo will decrease your fuel economy by about 1 percent.
Plan Before Driving
Plan your shopping trips and errands more efficiently to reduce your drive time. Cutting a few miles several times a week could save you a fill–up or two over a year. Google Maps and Apple Maps provide fuel–efficient tracking options along with apps like Fuelio and JerryCan.
Use Alternative Modes of Transportation
Consider rail or buses to get to work. You can also walk or bike to nearby destinations and improve your physical health while saving on gas.
Live near a co–worker with a similar schedule? Consider taking turns driving to work. You can do the same with neighbors or friends to transport your kids to school and extracurricular activities.
The information contained in this article is for informational purposes only, should not be construed as professional advice, and is not intended to replace official sources. Any resources linked from these pages are maintained by independent providers; therefore, NJM cannot guarantee their accuracy.