With oil prices high, consumers are feeling the impact of rising gas prices have on their wallets. Since drastic changes such as buying a more fuel efficient vehicle, driving less often, or carpooling are not realistic options for many people, here are four easy gas saving tips for all drivers regardless of the type of vehicle you drive.
1. Drive like you would want your teenage daughter to drive. Or better yet, drive like you would want her sixteen year old boyfriend to drive with her in the car. That means driving the speed limit and anticipating traffic patterns to avoid sudden stops and aggressive take offs. According to the Federal Trade Commission, safe driving can improve gas mileage by nearly 5%. The FTC reports on their website that “gas mileage decreases rapidly at speeds above 60 mph.” It pays to take your time.
2. Planning ahead can save you time and money. Cars are most fuel efficient when the engine is warm. So, you should combine multiple trips into one afternoon and try to avoid rush hour traffic. When possible, find “one stop shops” rather than driving to multiple venues. Unpack any unnecessary items in the trunk which might add more weight to the car. Before leaving home, look online for the best prices on gas and plan your route accordingly.
3. Maintenance: According to AAA, conducting ongoing maintenance of your vehicle can equate to more fuel efficient driving. It is important to keep up with your car’s maintenance which includes making sure your spark plugs are in good condition, checking the air filters twice a year, and inflating tires to the appropriate level specified in your owner’s manual. Just like medicine, sometimes a pre-emptive strike can be the best course of action.
4. At the pump: “When possible, try to buy gas during the coolest part of the day,” suggests Dr. Ron Weiers, author of “365 Ways to Save Gas: Everyday Tips to Stretch your Dollar.” “The pumps deliver and charge you according to volume, and gas expands when the ambient temperature is higher,” Weiers explains. “If you really want to be picky, and you are forced to buy gas during a warm time of the day, try to favor the pump that has been in the shade the longest.” This tip is definitely something to keep in mind for the upcoming summer days.
This is a weekly featured post on Own The Dollar from Sara Peak, a Certified Financial Planner and a veteran of the finance industry. In addition to her monthly “Money Matters” column in Kentucky Living magazine, she also writes about money and personal finance topics on her blog.
Be sure to look for more great featured articles every week from Sara. If you have a question or topic that you would like for her to discuss, please contact us.