10 Tips to Lower Gas Expenses

Have your gasoline expenses risen lately? You are not alone. Gasoline prices rise during the busy travel season. According to AAA, the national average for gas in August 2013 was $3.54 per gallon, which is the fourth highest on record. At those prices, gasoline can start to take up a large portion of many people’s budget.

Here are 10 easy tips to improve your fuel efficiency in your automobile:

  1. Maintain the vehicle. A properly maintained vehicle uses less gasoline because it works more efficiently. Three common maintenance tasks involve keeping tires properly inflated, changing the oil and tuning the engine.
  2. Don’t speed. Along with avoiding speeding tickets, going the speed limit uses less gasoline. Generally once you go over 50 mph, gas mileage rapidly decreases.
  3. Use the lowest manufacturer recommended octane. Higher octanes are only necessary in specific circumstances.  Otherwise, you are just spending extra money for no benefit.
  4. Avoid unnecessary idling. If you are going to idle for more than a minute, it is better to turn off the engine and restart to avoid unnecessary gas usage.
  5. Use cruise control when possible. Maintaining a constant speed improves fuel economy.
  6. Use the air conditioner sparingly and on the economy or recirculation settings. Air conditioning puts about a 20% greater load on the engine. Use the economy setting to circulate uncooled air and the recirculation setting to reduce the amount of outside hot air that needs to be chilled.
  7. Combine errands. Combining errands, especially if you select an efficient route, decreases the number of miles you drive and thus the amount of gasoline used.
  8. Don’t accelerate or brake hard. Aggressive driving decreases your fuel economy about 5% in the city and 33% at highway speeds.
  9. Keep car windows closed. Driving with the windows open creates a greater drag on the vehicle and decreases fuel economy by about 10%.
  10. Avoid heavy loads. Do not store unnecessary items in your car. Just an extra 100 lbs. can decrease mileage by 2%.

Sources: Federal Trade Commission Consumer InformationGasBuddy.comFuelEconomy.gov

By following these 10 simple tips, you can increase your fuel economy and save money on gas. And who couldn’t use extra money in their pockets these days? So go start saving money now!