Whether you’re planning a roadtrip, doing some summer cruising, or starting to feel like your kids’ personal chauffeur, you know how expensive gas can be. But did you know that some simple tricks like buying gas on the right day, keeping your tires inflated, and backing into parking spots can help you save gas? Here are our 10 tips for saving money at the pump and getting the most out of your mileage.
Check the Rate Near You
You may have noticed that gas prices can change dramatically from town to town or even street to street. Know which exit to pull off of by getting the Gas Buddy app, which shows you the cheapest gas prices in your area. You may even find that driving a little farther off the highway exit can save you money—the gas stations closest to the highway will often charge more per gallon than the ones located a bit off your course.
Save on Gas...Tomorrow
The cheapest time to refuel your car is on Tuesday and Wednesday. People fuel up on Thursdays and Fridays for weekend trips, and on Monday for their workweek. Therefore, most gas stations do their weekly price changes on Tuesdays or Wednesdays.
Keep Your Tires Inflated
It’s much harder for your engine to get your car to move when your tires are even a little flat. Invest in a gauge, and make sure to keep them as inflated as possible without over-inflating.
See Also: How to Pay Less for Gas
Stay Under the Speed Limit
We hate to tell you this, but your car will begin to lose fuel efficiency once it gets over 60 m.p.h. One of the easiest ways to save money on gas is to always go the speed limit—and it’s safer, too.
Get Regular Maintenance and Oil Changes
As oil ages, it gets thicker and harder to push through the engine, causing more energy to be used. By changing your oil regularly, you’ll make sure you get the best fuel economy possible. A clean air filter is also important. It can improve your car’s mileage by up to 10 percent, so make sure yours is replaced regularly. It should be changed at least every 8,000 miles, but if you live in a sandy or highly polluted area, you should change it more often. A good rule of thumb is simply to have the filter changed when you get your oil changed.
Remove Excess Weight
Take anything heavy out of your trunk or back seat that doesn’t need to be there (kids don’t count). An extra 100 pounds in your car can decrease your miles per gallon by 2 percent!
Roll Up Your Windows on the Highway
Having the wind streaming through your hair might be fun, but it increases drag on the car and makes it take more energy to run. In this case, it’s actually usually cheaper to run the AC. Keep the windows down long enough to yell along with one song, then roll them back up!
Manual Saves Money
If you’re buying a new car and can’t afford a hybrid, consider going with a stick-shift rather than automatic. Manually changing gears saves energy because your car is only using as much energy as it needs to—it’s never in a higher gear when it shouldn’t be. Being able to coast down hills will also save on gas.
Group Your Errands
Obviously, if you’re driving less distance by not traveling from home each time you’ll save on gas, but the Department of Energy also reports that several short trips beginning from a cold start use almost twice as much energy as a single trip of the same length. You also might want to consider taking a route that has fewer steep inclines, which make your engine work harder and use more gas.
Go Ahead, Back In
Backing into a parking spot so you’re ready to just simply drive out when you restart your car isn’t just a way to show off—it can save energy. Getting the car into a spot takes more energy than driving because you’re moving the car into the different gears, as well as starting and stopping. Having the car do this work at the end of a drive rather than at the beginning of one saves energy because at the end of a drive your car’s engine is already warm.
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