10 Clever Ways to Save Gas: Getting More Bang for Your Buck

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Sure, gas prices are relatively low right now, but that doesn’t mean that it’s cheap. No matter whether you drive an SUV, a sedan, a minivan or something else, chances are good that you’re paying more than you should to fuel up your vehicle. It doesn’t have to be that way. In fact, there are plenty of ways that you can cut down on fuel consumption and limit how much of your hard-earned pay you have to fork over to the oil companies. Here are some of the most important ways to save gas to start implementing right now.

10. Check Your Tire Pressure

Did you know that an underinflated tire can cost you almost 3% in terms of fuel economy? Make sure your tires are set to the correct pressure – you’ll find it on the driver side door placard, and don’t be surprised if the front and rear tires have different PSI ratings. Never set your pressure by the number on the tire’s sidewall, as that’s the maximum PSI the tire is rated to hold, not what your vehicle needs. Avoid overinflating them, though. While this will increase fuel economy, it will decrease tire lifespan, and replacing them can be costly.

9. Clean It Out

How much junk do you have rolling around in your trunk? How full are your back seats? By cleaning out your car, you can significantly reduce the load placed on the engine. Every 250 pounds inside the car adds one more mile per gallon consumed by the engine, so lighten things up and start enjoying better fuel economy.

8. Take Advantage of Rewards From Grocery Stores

These days, many of the big grocery store chains operate their own gas stations out in the parking lot. They also offer rewards cards if you sign up to be a member. Some of those rewards apply to savings on fuel. It can be amazing just how much you’re able to save at the pump just for using your rewards card and buying gas where you buy your groceries. However, remember that the savings are taken off the station’s regular price, which may not be the best price in town, so use an app or shop around before you fill up to make sure you’re getting the lowest price per gallon.

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7. Get Your Wheels Aligned

Regular alignments are important to overall maintenance and for preventing uneven tire wear, but did you know that you can boost fuel economy by almost 10% if you keep your vehicle aligned properly? Alignment can be thrown out by anything from curbing to potholes, and it will naturally deteriorate through normal driving, so have your car aligned at least once a year.

6. Don’t Be Desperate

We’ve all been there before – you’re driving along on fumes, desperately looking for the next gas station. Don’t put yourself in this position. Avoiding it is as simple as doing two things. First, don’t wait until the tank is almost empty to start looking for a place to fill up. Second, try to avoid the first gas station you encounter after a long dry spell, as they generally have higher prices.

5. Maintain Your Engine

While you’ll certainly spend money on regular maintenance, like oil changes, the benefit to your engine more than makes up for the cost (and will ensure that your engine keeps on running). Make sure you’re changing your oil regularly, and that you’re using the weight specified by your automaker. Dirty oil, or oil with the wrong viscosity, can cost you big time in terms of engine performance and fuel economy.

4. Replace Your Air Filter

In order to operate effectively, your engine needs a steady supply of fresh air. If it can’t get enough air, it struggles to run smoothly, which can increase your gas consumption by up to 10%. A simple way to handle this problem is to change your air filter regularly (every 15,000 miles is recommended, but base your schedule on local conditions and professional recommendations).

3. Use Modern Technology

Yes, the humble smartphone has changed our lives, including how we communicate with one another. It’s also had an impact on what we pay per gallon of gasoline thanks to some pretty nifty apps. Check out AAA Triptik or another gas-saving app to find out where the best prices for gasoline are in your area. This can save you quite a bit of money on each fill up, but the savings over the course of the year will be even more impressive.

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2. Know When to Buy

Think that buying gas is the same no matter when you pull up to the pump? Think again. Gas prices routinely go up on Friday in anticipate of weekend travel. In addition, most gas stations change their pricing around 10 AM or so. So, if you’re going to fill up, do it before Friday and be at the station before 10 AM.

1. Don’t Leave It Running

One of the best tips to help you save on gas involves an action we’ve all been guilty of from time to time. Let’s say you pull up to the convenience store. You need to buy a bottle of water and a snack, and your passenger doesn’t want to come in. No problem. You leave the car running and go buy what you need. Don’t do that. You burn a significant amount of gas while the engine is idling. If you’re going to be stopped for more than a minute or two, turn off the engine.

These are just a few of the many ways that savvy drivers can save on gas at the pump, as well as enhance the fuel economy of their vehicle so they have to visit the gas station less. There are plenty of other options as well, ranging from replacing worn out gas caps to driving five miles per hour slower (which can save you up to 7% in terms of fuel economy).