While driving I often find myself wondering how much money everyone in the cars around me spend on gas. It may not be any of my business, but I cannot help but think that they could make some small changes in order to save money on gas. Our strong reliance on gasoline as a society often has us at the mercy of fluctuating oil prices. Fortunately, the good news is that there are many possible ways to save money on gas.
There are many ways to save money on gas, but I have researched some of the most important and substantial ways. Driving less is the most profound method to spend less at the pump. Simply changing out the car you drive can have a tremendous long term effect on money spent on gas. When you drive, use proper hypermiling techniques to use less gas in the same amount of miles. Utilize technology to find lower prices on gas. Finally, follow the manufacturer’s maintenance schedule in order to keep your vehicle in working condition.
- Walk or ride a bike for shorter trips
If a trip you need to take is only a mile or two, then it may be worth considering just walking or riding a bike. Not only will you spend less in gas and transportation costs, but you will improve your health in the process. Make this a lifelong habit and you have just optimized one more thing and your life.
- Carpool whenever possible
You can carpool with someone else in your household, you can carpool with a neighbor, you could carpool with a friend or family member that is heading to the same place. Carpooling takes proper planning, but can easily be implemented and is especially useful for longer trips. be sure to split the responsibility of driving equally if you carpool with someone regularly.
- Take public transportation or use ride-sharing services
Sometimes taking public transportation or using a Rideshare service makes more sense than driving your own vehicle. This could be true if the public transportation would get you to your destination faster with less time spent in traffic like with the case of subways and monorails. A rideshare service might be more useful than driving your vehicle if you’re going to an airport or some other destination that would require you to pay for parking your car, especially for extended periods of time. In some areas taking a train is actually works out to be lower cost and more convenient than driving the same distance when all factors are considered.
- Combine all of your errands into one trip
On days when you do have to drive be sure to plan out where are you need to stop so that you don’t have to go back and forth because cars get the worst gas mileage on shorter trips and obviously combining errands leads to less distance traveled overall. This also works great if you try to take weekly trips and reduce them to monthly trips when possible.
- Map out your route ahead of time
Mapping out your route ahead of time plays well into combining all your errands into one trip. If you check your GPS you might discover that the route you usually take to some destination might not be the fastest or shortest route, only the one you are used to taking. It also helps to map out your route ahead of time because it allows you to develop the most direct path.
- Move closer to your work
This one might not be as easy, but moving closer to work will save you a tremendous amount in all transportation costs, not just gas. When calculating whether it is worth it to move closer to work, you need to take all factors into consideration such as your time spent commuting, your car depreciation, gas costs, maintenance costs, etc
Switch To A Fuel Efficient Vehicle
Thankfully, vehicles have already been developed to be more fuel-efficient over the many years that they have been in production. One thing that has been consistent is that smaller vehicles are better equipped for producing superior gas mileage performance than larger vehicles. Trading into a smaller vehicle with better fuel economy could make big sense, especially if you only need your vehicle for basic transportation. The more miles that you drive on average, the faster your savings with a more fuel-efficient vehicle are as well.
It is also important to look at the full picture because fuel economy is only one aspect of how trading into a smaller vehicle can save you money in the long run. If your trade-in is actually an upgrade to an expensive vehicle that does get better fuel economy, it could still take years for you to realize the benefits of spending less on gas when compared to the premium you paid upfront. Remember that a vehicle is just a mode of transportation that takes you from place A to place B. Looking at vehicles as a status symbol does not help you save any money.
Use Hypermiling Techniques
Hypermiling techniques are endless, they are the various ways that you can use less gas while driving similar distances. Here are a few of the techniques you can incorporate into your driving:
- Drive near the speed limit
There is a sweet spot when it comes to getting the best gas mileage, it is usually around 55 mph. Once you drive over the sweet spot, the fuel economy is increasingly reduced. Higher speeds mean more wind resistance, and so driving over the speed limit means your vehicle is fighting more wind resistance. Not only that, but it opens you up for getting speeding tickets, which are way worse.
- Close the windows when driving fast speeds
This technique also has to do with wind resistance. Most vehicles are designed with some aerodynamics in mind, and so when you have all of your windows rolled up, it allows the vehicle to operate as efficiently as it can against wind resistance. This only really becomes necessary at continuous higher speeds such as above 50mph.
- Use A/C sparingly
Air conditioners in cars use fuel, as simple as that. If you want to use less gas, then only using the A/C as necessary or occasionally will help you do that.
- Coast to stops
When you have your foot on the pedal, you are feeding gas to the engine, hence why it is the “gas pedal”. When you use the brakes, you are depleting the energy that you already generated from the gas pedal. So if you learn to take your foot off of the gas pedal and coast to a stop that you know you are going to make, it will help you use less gas.
- Accelerate Slowly
When coming from a stop, if you accelerate slower, then you are feeding less gas to the engine steadily. It is especially useful if you know that you will need to slow down or stop again soon because then it will require you to use the brakes less.
- Reduce Idling
If you are not actively driving, then it is best to not leave your car on in most circumstances because idling is the equivalent of getting 0 mph.
Buy cheaper gas
We now have many applications that can help us locate where to buy gas for the best price. A personal favorite of mine is called GasBuddy. This app allows you to filter searches for the cheapest gas prices and location. The prices are all maintained by the users themselves, so each time you fill up gas at a gas station you can report the current prices. Using this app will also lead you to know where the best price gas stations are located in your area because usually, the best price stations remain the best value all the time. It really takes the guesswork out of finding a gas station with the best prices.
In the end, it all comes down to proper planning. Usually, the most expensive gas stations are the ones that are the most conveniently located, such as right off of a popular freeway exit or in a location where there is no other competition. GasBuddy allows you to search on a map to find good value gas. The more you fill-up the more you can save by using a gas finding app.
Keep up with proper maintenance
This tip is more of an indirect method of saving gas, but when you keep your car properly maintained it is all-around more efficient. For example, one often overlooked way of improving gas mileage is to keep your tires properly inflated. Improperly inflated tires can not only reduce fuel efficiency but are less safe to drive. Keeping oil changes up to date for your vehicle will also improve engine efficiency, which leads to better fuel economy. Just by following your manufacturer’s maintenance specifications, you will keep your vehicle in optimal condition and it will perform with the best fuel efficiency possible.
- Driving less is the most substantial way to save money on gas.
- Getting a vehicle that is fuel-efficient can save money in the long run.
- Hypermiling can help you use less gas in the same amount of distance driven.
- Use technology to help you find better-priced gas stations.
- Keep your vehicle running smoothly for best performance.