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 the 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.