Gas. It’s expensive, but it’s necessary if you want to actually drive your car anywhere. No matter where you go, you’re going to be using up some of the precious gas in your tank and you’ll eventually have to stop and get more. There are some things you can do to hang on to that gas a little longer and maybe pay a little less for it. Here’s how.
- Avoid idling. Letting the car run without going anywhere is a surefire way to run down your tank. While it may seem like turning the car off and then on again will use up more gas than just sitting there, the opposite can be true. For every two minutes you let the engine idle, you’re burning the gas equivalent to driving a mile. If you’ll be idling longer than 30 seconds, turn the car off.
- Slow down. The faster you drive, the more gas you use. Most cars are generally built to drive in the 55-60 mile per hour range. So, if you’re driving faster than that, you’re not getting your money’s worth. In fact, driving at 80 miles per hour has about one-third the fuel efficiency of driving at 55 miles per hour.
- Don’t drive erratically. Similarly, if you accelerate quickly, you’ll use up more gas. When you’re ready to hit the gas, don’t gun it. Pull away slowly to save. While just how much you’ll save can vary from car to car, even saving a little is worth it.
- Use cruise control sparingly. Cruise control is best suited for use on flat surfaces. Going up and down hills will cause your engine to have to work harder to maintain the pre-set speed. Instead, let gravity help you out when you’re going downhill and let momentum pull you uphill whenever possible.
- Buy your gas on Wednesday or Thursday. Gas prices tend to rise in anticipation of when more people will be out cruising. Avoid buying gas on weekends or on a holiday, when the gas stations know you’re going to fill up if you’re running low. If you can wait until midweek, you’ll save some cash.
- Let technology be your guide. There’s an app for everything these days, so you may as well download some that can help you save. First, look for navigation app that can reroute you when there’s traffic. Sitting bumper-to-bumper with no place to go will eat up your gas and send you to the pump quicker. You can also look for an app that will let you know where the cheapest gas is in town. While it doesn’t make a lot of sense to drive all over to find cheaper gas, you may be able to plan your day so that you’re passing that cheaper station when you need the gas the most.
There’s no getting around having to fill up the tank, but who says you have to spend a fortune to do it?
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