I remember “back in the day” when the price of gas was under $1. It can be overwhelming to realize that price has quadrupled. Add in a larger vehicle that holds more than two children and you’re sure to feel the sting right in your pocketbook! Guest poster, John Amann, shares with us 10 Frugal Ways To Save Money On Gas. Molly
- SLOW DOWN AND SAVE MONEY Everyone wants to get to where they are going fast, it’s understandable considering our modern lives and “go go go” culture. You’re in a hurry, you’re running late for work or you just want to get home. It’s easy not to think twice about putting a little extra pressure on the gas pedal and cutting minutes off your commute.But it’s precisely this kind of thinking that can add up to dollars lost at the gas pump each week. The frugal fact is that according to the GHSA (Governor’s Highway Safety Association) your lead foot can reduce gas mileage by 33% on the highway! And for every 5mph over 60mph that you drive on the highway it’s like paying an extra 20 cents a gallon for gas.
It’s also not just the highway speed that is emptying your wallet but also the way you accelerate that can cost you money. Rapid braking and acceleration is going to suck fuel out of your tank faster than any other driving habit. The more you jump on the gas pedal the more RPM’s you’re going to use, the more gas you’re going to use and the more money you will be dishing out at the pump. Try to plan your braking a little in advance and ease your car to a slow controlled stop and then accelerate in the same manner. Accelerate slowly and go easy on the gas pedal, your wallet will thank you.
- USE YOUR SMARTPHONE TO FIND CHEAP GAS Just about all of us have a smartphone these days, and whether you’re a diehard android, iPhone, blackberry or windows phone user there are plenty of frugal options out there to help you save money at the pump.Each app works in pretty much the same way. You either enter your location or the app finds your location by GPS and the app will then return a list of gas stations in your area with current fuel prices for you to choose from. It’s quick, it’s simple and if you own a smartphone the savings are already in your pocket.
Don’t have a smartphone? Don’t worry point your browser to: gaspricewatch.com
- TURN OFF THE A/C AROUND TOWN Make no mistake about it air-conditioning is an enemy of your fuel tank and part of an axis of evil habits that can cause you to use more fuel during the hot summer months. Is it a necessity? You bet, but turning up the AC while driving around at slow speeds or on days that you don’t absolutely need it is going to cost you money.
At highway speeds studies have shown that keeping your windows up and AC on is the most efficient way to keep cool reducing your fuel economy by approximately 10%. This is because keeping your windows down with interferes with the aerodynamics of your vehicle creating more drag on your car causing your engine to work harder.
But for those driving around down at relatively slow speeds on short trips to the store and back, It’s more efficient to keep the AC off, roll down the windows and cool off with the breeze.
A quick rule of thumb is that if you are driving at less than 40mph keep the windows down, over 40mph roll up the windows and use your AC.
- EMPTY YOUR TRUNK FOR EXTRA GAS SAVINGS It’s just a simple fact of physics that the heavier your car is the more fuel it is going to take to propel the car forward. And if you are anything like me, your trunk is often a disaster, and cluttered with unnecessary items. Cleaning out your car’s trunk and leaving only the essentials will save you fuel in the long run. The lighter you keep your car, the less gas your car has to use and the more money you will save.With the same idea in mind and thinking about the weight of your vehicle you should always wait to fill up your car until the gas tank is near empty. Driving around with a full tank of gas is going to make your car significantly heavier, thus causing a decrease in miles per gallon.
- CARPOOLINGNot only will you be doing something good for the environment by reducing your carbon footprint, but carpooling has the potential to save you and your coworkers a ton of cash.With the price of gas rising carpooling has steadily been gaining in popularity, and there are several online resources that can help you find a carpooling partner if you happen to strike out with your coworkers. Two popular resources for finding a carpool buddy are carpooling.com (outside the US) and erideshare.com.
- CRUISE CONTROL If you are serious about cutting fuel costs setting your car on cruise is a habit that you must put into practice.Using cruise control around town or in city driving clearly is not very practical but on long stretches of road or highway, setting cruise control will save fuel by eliminating the fluctuations in pedal pressure applied by your foot.
Setting your car on cruise will ensure steady engine RPM and stop the unnecessary fluctuations in acceleration that little by little rob you of money.
- SAVE MONEY BY TIGHTENING YOUR GAS CAP Not fully tightening your gas cap can result in fuel evaporating into thin air and taking your hard earned money with it. Especially in the hot summer months it is important to tighten your gas cap and ensure that you are saving every drop of gasoline for your engine and not the atmosphere.
- PREVENTATIVE MAINTENANCE Is your air filter clean? Is your engine tuned up? Are you using the correct grade of motor oil? Answering no to any of these questions will cause your engine to work harder, run hotter and use up more gas in the process.Show a little bit of love to your car and keep up with basic maintenance requirements. It will save you money in the long run, and save you money at the pumps.
- STOP IDLING Seems simple right? But pay attention for a week and take note of how many times you sit in your car idling all the while your car is burning fuel for no reason. A rule of thumb is that if your car is going to be stopped for over a minute turn off the car to cut down on wasted fuel.
- DRIVE LESS AND WALK MORE Plan your day, eliminate multiple short trips, walk or ride a bike when you can and use less gas. It’s good for you, it’s good for the environment and it’s good for your wallet.
John Amann created wickedfrugal.com in July of 2012 in order to blog about his own thoughts and ideas on how to save money and live frugally during the recession.Wickedfrugal.com is updated daily with new frugal ideas and tips to ease the burden on your wallet and stretch your money in ways you may not have thought of.