10 Simple Behavioral Changes That Save Gas

by Ron Haynes

Who would have ever thought that gas prices would almost triple in the last 4 years? When my family and I last moved, gasoline was around $1.39 per gallon. Today, we’re excited to find it for less than $3.50. Even though it’s high, it still isn’t at a record high when adjusted for inflation. Still, I’m looking for every avenue possible to save a couple of bucks at the pump.

Here’s a few things you and I can do to ease the pain at th pump:

1. Plan your route to maximize your RIGHT turns. Companies such as UPS and FedEx have discovered that planning their delivery routes to maximize right turns has lowered their fuel expense. Since drivers are able to make a right turn even if the stop light is red, maximizing right turns results in less idle time. When a vehicle is idling, it’s getting zero miles per gallon. We aren’t used to planning our routes as consumers, but altering this behavior can save quite a bit of gas.

Also plan your trips better by combining errands. Making unnecessary trips only wastes gasoline. So don’t drive unless you have to.

2. Use smooth starts and stops. You’re not at the Talladega 500. Unless you have a true medical emergency, jackrabbit driving only saves a few minutes anyway, but it costs you significantly more in fuel. Some experts say you can save up to 33 percent in fuel by altering this one behavior.

3. Keep it under 60, even on the interstate. According to the EPA, you can assume that each 5 m.p.h. you drive over 60 m.p.h. is like paying an additional 20 to 25 cents per gallon of gas. Wow!

4. Check your tire pressure every couple of days. If you drive with underinflated tires, it’s like running laps around a track while wearing 10 pound shoes. Underinflated tires can guzzle 4% to 10% out of a car’s potential gas mileage. Check inside your glove box, inside the door frame, or the owner’s manual for the correct tire pressure and remember that it may be different for front and rear tires. Check the pressure when the tires are cold. When you have to replace your tires, buy the set with the least amount of rolling resistance to further increase your fuel savings.

5. Go ahead and stop on those yellow lights. Research shows that drivers tend to stomp on the accelerator to get through a yellow light more quickly and this uses far more gasoline than idling at the light.

6. Drop some weight.
Every extra 100 pounds drops your MPG’s by a couple of percentage points. Those golf bags, tools, bowling balls, books, and other miscellaneous things you keep in the trunk are costing you big bucks.

7. Change those dirty filters. According to the FTC, changing your air filter alone could increase your miles per gallon by 10 percent.

8. Change your oil.
Dirty oil increases the resistance on the inside of your engine and more resistance equals poorer gas mileage. Use the lightest grade of oil recommended by your vehicle’s manufacturer. A multi-viscosity oil such as 5W30 can save gas compared with regular 30-weight oil because it creates less friction. The engine doesn’t have to work as hard.

9. Cars run more efficiently when they are kept in tune. It often makes sense to get them tuned more often than the manufacturer recommends. But don’t worry, you might can do some of the work yourself. For example, spark plugs can be easily checked and cleaned or replaced, and the simple act of pouring a bottle of fuel-injector cleaner in the gas tank every six months or so can help the engine maintain peak efficiency.

10. Coast whenever possible. Don’t accelerate up to a stop. Use gravity and inertia to help increase your MPG’s.


Here’s what other blogs and websites are saying:
The Dough Roller has a list of
25 ways to save money on gas.
Check out Daily Fuel Economy’s Tip for the top 10 ways to reduce your gasoline consumption.
Moolanomy has 34 ways to save money on car expenses.

About the author

Ron Haynes has written 1000 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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{ 14 comments }

Kacie

If only everyone would slow down on the interstates–then we could all save gas!

Instead, most of the time it’s dangerous to go 60 on the interstates, especially when people blow by you at 75 or 80.

Ron

#Kacie→

It’s crazy isn’t it? I find that in most larger cities I too have to drive faster than I’d like, but on most longer drives I can slow it down a bit. Believe me, when my family and I drive the 24 hours we’re going for our trip to Yellowstone this summer, I’ll be taking it nice and slow, gentle and steady!

Daniel@youngandfrugal

I actually wrote a similar post on this last week! All are great tips! Keep up the good work Ron!

http://youngandfrugal.com/2008/05/01/ten-tips-for-saving-money-on-gas/

Ron

#Daniel@youngandfrugal→

Saving money at the pump seems to be on everyone’s mind these days.

Daniel

Those are some great tips that everyone should read. I repair cars everyday and find over 50% of them come in with under inflated tires. Not only does it lower your gas mileage, but it is dangerous.

Ron

#Daniel→
Wow, 50 percent?
I’ve heard that some companies are making their delivery drivers check air pressure TWICE every day.

Mrs. Micah

I love coasting! It’s a really exciting feeling. And there’s so many places where I can do it on my commute, at least for something like 10 seconds.

Ron

#Mrs. Micah→
LOL! I never saw that one coming…

Elliott - 21st Century Dad

There are 3 things I do to save gas:

Put the car in neutral when I’m stopped at an intersection. Of course, I still have my foot on the brake.

Ride my bike.

Take the bus.

"Mo" Money

Good Post. Every driver should be interested in doing as many of these tips as they can. It would make a difference.

LP

If we would start drilling in ANWR (Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge) we could drastically alter the supply/demand economics that are driving up prices. Over the years estimates for oil range from 600 million barrels at the low end to 9.2 billion barrels at the high end. They also reported identifying 26 separate oil and gas prospects in the Coastal Plain that could each contain “super giant” fields (500 million barrels or more).

I got the numbers info from USA Today.

And if we stopped sending what oil we do have to other countries….our prices would drop dramatically.

God Bless America!!!

djd to LP

The issue of ANWR drilling has been repeatedly refuted – ANWR contains 80% more natural gas than oil; would not be available for another 10 years at least; 80% of it is promised to Asia; the amount of fuel it would actually supply would lower the price by about 1 cent per gallon. Google it to see for yourself. We need alternative energies, better mass transit nationally, flex fuel/smart cars, and to quit being so greedy & selfish! You first! :mrgreen:

Ron

#LP→

One thing to keep in mind about ANWR, it was first proposed in 1994. We would have been getting oil and natural gas from it for the last four years if we had tapped it then. Russia is drilling in the Caspian Sea to produce oil in about 20 years. The US doesn’t have that much foresight.

I agree about alternative energy sources. I’d be willing to bet that some company in the not so distant future will come up with something. I just wish I knew which one so I could invest today!

Mombo Juamba

I’m not sure how your crystal ball see’s future gas prices but I have to say, my magic 8 ball keeps saying, “try again later”. You have 2 basic choices. They are buy a bike and sell your car OR drive less.

Here is a site I came across that could make a difference. The site is GasBankUSA located at http://www.gasbankusa.com and discusses fixed price gasoline and locking in a price even if gas goes up.

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