This is a contribution from Syed of The Broke Professional! He runs an up and coming personal finance site for working professionals. On top of that, he’s a practicing doctor. Thanks for the article, Syed!
Cars give you the freedom to go wherever you want – anytime you want. It’s a climate-controlled environment, built for listening to music and rocking out. But, convenience has a cost – cars are no exception. Car insurance, maintenance, depreciation, and gas can quickly devour a healthy budget. Luckily, there are some easy ways to save some money when filling up your tank.
As with most things in life, the middle ground is usually the right way to go – conserving gas is no exception. Most modern car engines work most efficiently when cruising at 55 mph. Going any faster will force the car to burn off more gas than it needs to, which translates to a lower overall gas mileage.
Plan ahead to find a good price
Use websites such as gasbuddy.com and/or billshrink.com to find and get alerted to the best gas prices in your area. You can also simply take notice of cheap stations when driving around and use them when you are in the area. But beware not to drive too far out of the way just to save a couple of cents off a gallon as the time and gas spent going to the station can negate your per gallon savings.
Consider a rewards credit card
The best way to use reward credit cards is to use it on stuff you already buy. Gas is a must. By using a rewards card, you’ll receive cash back and points on purchases you’d be making either way. Likewise, a lot of cash back cards offer rotating, 5% categories on gas purchases throughout the year. If you use rewards cards wisely, you should always be saving on gas purchases.
Check your tires
Tire pressure should be checked regularly, as it can fluctuate with outside temperature. It’s important to make sure your tires are filled to their optimum pressure not only for the longevity of the tire but also for your gas mileage. According to the US Department of Transportation, under-inflated tires waste about 5 million gallons of fuel every day. A poorly inflated tire has to work harder to produce the same speed as an optimum inflated tire, which burns more gas. Tire pressure can be checked by a simple pressure gauge which can be found at any auto parts store or at most gas stations.
Replace your air filter
The air filter is responsible for keeping out useless stuff from the environment such as dirt and bugs. These things can really hurt engine performance. If the air filter is in need of being replaced, that can affect gas mileage because the engine is not working as efficiently as it should. According to a survey by Advanced Auto Parts, a dirty air filter can reduce gas mileage by as much as 20%. Most filters should be replaced every 5,000 miles, but your cars manual should have the exact information.
Fill up late
It’s interesting to see when people start feeling uneasy about the level of gas left in their tank. Some feel the need to fill up when the empty light is on, while others like to fill up if half a tank is gone. For gas mileage purposes, it is better to fill up as late as you can, because having less gas will make your car lighter and more fuel efficient. Just don’t wait until you are stranded on the side of the road!
Consider a fuel efficient car or a hybrid
Many people drive cars that just are not very fuel efficient. Consider trading in for a fuel efficient vehicle and/or hybrid. ConsumerReports.com has comprehensive lists of which cars have the best mileage.
Many people can’t think of another way to get to work or school other than driving. While not practical for everyone, some people can use services like public transportation, carpooling, biking, or simply walking to get to their destination. Not using your car helps the environment and your health.
Most people spend hundreds of dollars a month on gas. Enlist these tips for quick, easy gas savings! What do you do to save on gas?