If you’re looking to save money, one place to pinch pennies is at the gas pump. Paying to drive is one of those necessary expenses that is simply a part of life, and you have no control over gas prices. Commuting to work and getting your shopping done can be expensive, but if you’re smart about how you drive, you can save money on gas—no matter what kind of car you drive.
If you’re wondering how to save on gas money for your car, follow these tips.
1. Drive Less
This one is obvious, and easier said than done. But if you’re serious about learning how to save money on gas, see if you can figure out a way to drive your car less often. If your gym is only a few blocks away, walk or jog there. Ride your bike to work. Plan your meals ahead of time so you only need to go to the grocery store one time per week, or less frequently if you can manage it. Any effort you can put into driving less will help you save on gas, and do a good turn for the environment to boot.
2. Combine Trips
Bundling your errands together into one trip is another way to drive less and save on gas. Stop at the dry cleaners on the way home from work, go to the bank before picking up the kids from school, and try to get as many errands done as possible while you’re out to save yourself another trip.
3. Be a Friendly Driver
Aggressive driving can be stressful—and expensive. If you want to know how to save gas, try being a more friendly and accommodating driver. Habits such as speeding, screeching around corners, camping the gas pedal, and gunning the engine will guzzle up your gas.
4. Don't Speed
In many vehicles, gas mileage decreases quickly as you exceed 50 MPH. Stay under the speed limit, and turn on cruise control on long drives to help yourself drive at a consistent speed.
5. Don't Idle
While you’re waiting for grocery pick-up or your spouse to get in the car, picking up a date, or checking your phone one last time before heading inside, turn the engine off. Idling is a huge waste of gas, plus it pumps unnecessary pollution out into the environment.
6. Check Tire Pressure
Car tires that are under-inflated are dangerous to drive on—plus, they increase drag and reduce your gas mileage. Find out your car’s recommended PSI and check your tires regularly, especially when it’s cold outside. Drastic shifts in temperature can cause changes in your PSI.
7. Stay Aerodynamic
Wind resistance on your car increases drag and makes your car work harder, which is a waste of fuel. Make your car more aerodynamic by keeping windows closed, especially when you’re driving fast. Also remove any car racks you aren’t using, such as luggage rocks, bike racks, or ski racks.
8. Keep Up with Maintenance
A well-maintained vehicle will run at its peak efficiency. Take it in for repairs when the “check engine” light turns on, get your oil changed, and keep it in good repair.
9. Turn Off the AC
Blasting the air conditioning can turn your car into a true gas guzzler. It takes a lot of fuel to cool your car down, so use it sparingly. Park in the shade, use a windshield cover, and open the windows for a bit to circulate air. If you really need the AC, keep it turned down as low as you can stand.
10. Travel Light
Increased weight in your car will drain your fuel. Don’t carry heavy loads unless you need to. On road trips, be careful to pack only what you need. And don’t store things in the back of your car or truck. Check the trunk regularly and take out heavy items.
11. Don’t Wait to Fill Up
If you wait to fill up your car until your gas light turns on, you’ll pull into the nearest gas station and be stuck with the price. When your tank is getting low, but not empty, you can find a nearby gas station with good prices or where you have a membership that gives you a discount. And always avoid gas stations near the freeway, even if they are close to work or home—these are guaranteed to be the most expensive.
12. Don’t Tailgate
Driving too close to someone, even if they are slow, is rude—and inefficient. Breaking excessively wastes gas, plus it wears out your brake pads. Keep a safe and respectful distance from the car in front of you so you don’t need to keep breaking. Plus, it will give you time to begin breaking earlier, such as when approaching a stop sign. Not slamming on the breaks will make your car more efficient and use less gas.
If you’re looking for how to save money on gas, try these simple and effective ways to cut down on your fuel usage. Pick one or two to try at a time, and after a while you’ll be surprised at how much you’re saving at the pump.
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