Way back before I got my license, gas was something like $2 per gallon. With gas regularly reaching and surpassing $4 per gallon in New York, I long for those $2 days. Since I find myself driving more and more, I’ve researched some ways to save money on my gas spending. Some things are conventional and some not so conventional. I present by top 10 ways to save money on gasoline.
- The first one is simple: quit driving so much! If you’re not drivng you are saving money on gas. I don’t drive to the bus stop, instead I walk. I’ve even been known to (gasp) walk to the local supermarket and back. Okay, it’s 5 blocks away, but those are some pretty long blocks. I hear that whole walking thing is good for your health too.
- When driving, slow down. Your lead foot is costing you more than you think. I know that a 60 mile per hour speed limit sucks, but it appears that the government has done its homework and found that for every mile that you drive above 60, you use more gas. Now, I’ve been known to speed a time or two when racing to see my tenant from hell, but I don’t advise you to do the same thing.
- Be a consistent driver. Please don’t be like my BF and peel off then jam your foot on the brakes to stop. Such erratic driving costs you money in the form of gas. Well, it’s costing HIM anyway. It’s less wear and tear on your car and tires. Do you know how much a decent set of tires cost these days?
- Speaking of tires, make sure that yours are inflated to the right level. Do yourself a favor and buy a $5.99 digital pressure gauge. Check your tires every 2 weeks and inflate them to the optimal level. You can find out what your auto manufacturer recommends by looking at the label glued to the inside of the driver side door. Mine recommends 35 PSI. If your tires are under inflated by 5 pounds, you’ll use 30% more gas.
- Since you’re maintaining your tires, you might as well maintain your car. This means new spark plugs, air filters, oil change and the like. Check your car’s handbook to see the recommended maintenance schedule. I know that this will cost money, but it’ll make your car last longer in the end.
- Ditch all the extra stuff in your car. If you are hauling your kids’ stuff and lots of extra things, you are slowing your car down. I would get rid of the spare tire if I could, but BF won’t let me. The lighter your car is the less gas you use.
- Live in a warm climate? Park in the shade. Gas expands and evaporates which means that you will be losing some of it in the heat. I know that this one sounds like an urban legend, but trust me on this one. Now, hold on to that trust for the next one.
- Don’t fill up your car during the hottest time of the day or right after a gas tanker delivery either. Just as it does in your tank, gas expands in the storage tank at the gas station too. In fact they put additives in the gas during the summer. Don’t buy gas between 1pm and 4pm if you can avoid it. Also, if the oil tanker just made a delivery, pouring all that new gasoline in the storage tanks stirs up debris and sedatives that might be sitting in the bottom of the storage tank. You don’t want that in your gas tank, so wait!
- It’s been cold here and I’m guilty of this one, so I’m almost ashamed to tell you to not leave your car idling or “warming up” for too long. I’ll admit that I stand inside and hit the auto start waiting for the car to get nice and toasty and for my seat warmers to heat up to the perfect temperature for my backside, but I’m wasting gas! It’s going at the rate of something like one quart for every 15 minutes. I can wear another scarf and quit the idling.
- Take your foot off the gas and coast for a bit. This is especially true if you’re driving up to a red light or going downhill. It makes no sense to me to speed my way to a red light or down a hill.
There are of course more ways to save money on gas, but these are pretty painless and easy to implement. If you’re in the market for a new car consider paying attention to gas mileage or think about buying a car with a manual transmission. Cars that run on diesel gas have also been known to help you save money. This is a complete sidebar, but the car featured in the photo is the Infiniti Essence. I saw it at the New York Auto Show last year and fell in love. Nothing will ever be the same again.
Do you use any of these techniques? Have you noticed any improvement in the amount of gas that you use?