10 Gasoline Cost Saving Tips for Your Wallet

by Ron Haynes

We have to face the facts: driving is an unavoidable activity for most Americans. It isn’t feasible for everyone to bicycle or walk to work, but since today’s gasoline costs can so easily drain your wallet, people are beginning to consider these short-term and long-term solutions for conserving fuel:
  1. Empty your car instead of your wallet. Carrying around golf clubs, textbooks, toolboxes, or anything that’s not necessary adds weight to your car, slurps up gasoline, and drives down your fuel mileage. I’ve heard that every 100 pounds of extra weight you carry causes your fuel mileage to decrease by 3 percent. Whether this is true or not, it makes sense that extra weight requires extra energy and gasoline, so clean out that car and pad your wallet!
  2. Use public transportation where possible. Today there are many public transportation options even in the suburbs. Check out your municipality’s maps for buses, trolleys, subways, or other forms of public transportation. You could be surprised at how easy it is to get where you need to go. If you purchase weekly, monthly, or annual passes, you could potentially pad your wallet even more.
  3. Double up on those trips. Plan your trips very carefully. Imagine that you have to make all your trips in the least amount of time. That will translate to less gasoline used since you’ll be on the road less time. Then buy everything you can from one location. Learn to grocery shop in your kitchen by making a list and using newspaper fliers. How? Many stores will meet the advertised prices of their competitors. Take advantage of this and shop where the products you need are consistently lower. If you can’t buy everything you need from one location, plot stops along the most efficient path to avoid unnecessary driving…and unnecessary wallet draining.
  4. Share the ride. Coordinate trips with neighbors to share rides to work, school, or the grocery store. This helps if you’re friendly and have nice neighbors! You’ll also be able to take advantage of special high-occupancy vehicle (HOV) lanes in many cities. Some cities and companies even offer special benefits to people who sign up for car pooling arrangements. Check out websites such as carpoolconnect.com which helps match commuters who would like to carpool and pad their wallets.
  5. Shop til you drop. Find the lowest gasoline prices online using websites such as gaspricewatch.com or gasbuddy.com. Once you find the lowest price, use bankrate.com‘s calculator that computes whether your wallet will be padded or drained by driving to a far away station with those lower gas prices.
  6. No “jack rabbit” starts. Quick starts and stops are both gasoline guzzlers. Start off gently and come to a gentle stop to have a gentle effect on your wallet.
  7. Catch a cool breeze. Using your car air conditioner can decrease fuel economy significantly because it puts added strain on the engine, so catch a cool breeze for your wallet by rolling down your windows or putting the top down on your convertible when you’re driving on local roads…if you can stand it. But it’s fine to use air conditioning on the freeway—closed windows reduce air resistance.
  8. Don’t be a fuel snob. Buy premium gasoline only if your car’s owner’s manual recommends it. For most cars, performance doesn’t improve with more expensive grades of gasoline. Your wallet doesn’t know the difference between 89 octane and 92 octane.
  9. Slow ride. Take it easy. Excessive speed can result in more than just speeding tickets (which also drain your wallet). A heavy left foot causes you to lose mileage and decrease your fuel economy. I think of it this way: if I drive 45 mph vs. 30 mph for a 10 mile trip, I only save about 6 minutes. Wow. Six minutes. And that’s only if I have zero stops. Factor in a real world stop sign and a few traffic lights and your time saved will significantly lessen while your wallet is drained.
  10. Give your car the once over. A well-tuned engine, properly inflated tires, regularly changed fluids, correctly maintained engine belts, a washed and waxed car, and a light weight trunk ALL can help you reduce gas expenses. When your car’s engine and tires aren’t properly maintained, your car requires more fuel to operate. Also make sure your gas cap is on tight to prevent gas evaporation. No sense letting your wallet evaporate!

Many of us may or may not be able to implement these ideas, but just one of them could potentially save you quite a lot of money. Use common sense, slow down, keep your car in good shape and you’ll save at the pump.

Your wallet will thank you!

[tags]gas, car, gasoline, wallet[/tags]

About the author

Ron Haynes has written 1003 articles on The Wisdom Journal.


The founder and editor of The Wisdom Journal in 2007, Ron has worked in banking, distribution, retail, and upper management for companies ranging in size from small startups to multi-billion dollar corporations. He graduated Suma Cum Laude from a top MBA program and currently is a Human Resources and Management consultant, helping companies know how employees will behave in varying situations and what motivates them to action, assisting firms in identifying top talent, and coaching managers and employees on how to better communicate and make the workplace MUCH more enjoyable. If you'd like help in these areas, contact Ron using the contact form at the top of this page or at 870-761-7881.


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{ 8 comments }

Frugal Dad

Great tips, Ron. I see so many people filling up their ’97 Honda with premium gasoline because “they heard it is better for cars.” In fact, there are very few models that require, and benefit from, premium unleaded gasoline.

I should watch those “jackrabbit” starts and stops, though!

Ron

Thanks Frugal Dad,
I need to follow these tips myself! I’m not tempted to get the high octane gas but I do have a problem with jack rabbit starts and stops….at least that’s what my wife tells me. :oops:

Josh C

Several good tips… I wonder, Ron, if you take public transportation? I did for a year+ and found it, somehow, both contribute to my freedom and take away from it. No longer was I bothered by other drivers, any traffic, or an empty tank. I was, however, constantly at odds with the schedule and, despite being able to work/study (kinda), I was still missing a lot of time in the day.

I’m back to my car now…

My take on public transportation when I rode it

My recent-ish post on MPG and what contributes to it

Ron

Thanks Josh C,
I wish I could but I live in a small town where it isn’t offered anywhere near where I need it. Additionally, as a District Manager with 16 stores in 6 states, I have to drive my company car to visit my stores. I did use some public transportation when I lived in a larger city and enjoyed it. It kept me from the frustration of finding a parking space! That alone was worth the fare.

Leslie Raymond

I couldn’t agree more with all of your tips — I try and practice them myself. The smartest thing my husband and I did was to find jobs within 5 miles from where we live. In fact, it’s less than 2 miles to each of our workplaces, and we work in swing shifts and share a car after deciding to sell our gas-guzzling Lincoln Continental that we’d purchased for a great price when my parents were done with it.

We’re trying to be earth conscious, but really it’s mainly the cost that’s forcing our hands. I can hardly believe that we both used to commute almost an hour each way every day to get to work. People that do that now are just not calculating the money they’re losing out of their paycheck each week to fuel, wear and tear on their car, extra car insurance for increased mileage – not to mention that you can’t bill for the time you spend sitting in traffic!

Ron

Thanks Leslie,
Congratulations on finding a job that suits your needs AND is convenient! I sure wish I could pull that off.

Rachel @ Master Your Card

Although my husband and I both drive, we have managed to resist the temptation to buy a car each. We not only save on fuel but on the tax, insurance and the cost of the car. I definately think not having a car is the best way to save!

Emily @ Taking Charge

I have seen the “drive slow” tip in so many blogs and articles recently. It’s surprising to me because I always thought the faster you went, the more gas you were saving (because you always hear that you get better mileage for highway driving vs. city driving). I guess it’s because of all the starts and stops you have to make when city driving. Either way, I’m very glad I learned this — I tend to be a bit of a speeder :oops:

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