Gasoline prices often seem to fluctuate like the stock market…making it difficult to set and stick to a budget for your monthly fuel expenses. Still, spending as little as possible while still being able to drive as far as possible is good for your bank account…and the environment.
Wasting gas is by definition, unnecessary and frivolous. It’s much like wasting water…especially during a drought. Sometimes people just don’t realize the wasteful consequences of poor driving habits…sometimes they just need a reminder.
Here are five ways you can change your driving habits and spend less money on gas as a positive result.
- Tires – Keep Properly Inflated – This not only helps fuel efficiency…it’s also improves overall safety for you and better for your car. Properly inflated tires drive much better and can even last longer than improperly filled tires. A car mechanic can fill your tires for you or show you where to locate your car’s recommended tire inflation pressure. Overinflating your tires is also something you should avoid. It can cause your car problems and be dangerously close to being ready to pop!
- Slow Down – Fuel economy decreases rapidly after 50 mph. In fact, slowing down can increase fuel efficiency by up to 25%! Think of it is this way: for every 5 mph above 50, you’re paying 26 cents more per gallon! So…easing off the gas pedal and driving the speed limit may not get you where you want to go more quickly, but it’s doing your wallet… and your safety…a huge favor.
- Remove Unnecessary Weight – This is the mobile version of the horder syndrome. Bottom line: an extra 100 pounds of stuff in your back seat and trunk can reduce your mileage by 4%! Keep only essentials in your vehicle. Top priorities: jumper cables, an emergency preparedness kit…and any car repair tools you might need in case your car breaks down.
- Drive Defensively – The National Safety Council defines this as “driving to save lives, time, and money, in spite of the conditions around you and the actions of others.” …and it happens to be one of the best ways to save on gas…by up to a third! Things like accelerating at a moderate pace…not braking earlier than you need to, and not switching lanes too often…can not only help you save on fuel, but they also make the ride more comfortable for your passengers. They’ll even help your brakes and tires last longer.
- Engine Tune Ups – A properly tuned engine can generate 40% better fuel economy. Plus, it’s better for the lifetime health of your car and also better for your peace of mind. Maintaining your car well can prevent costly repairs and inconvenient situations later on.
- Cruise Control – If you do a moderate to greater amount of highway driving…this will it discourage you from speeding up mindlessly or feeling the need to pass every car around you…maintaining a more constant vehicle speed. Sudden acceleration to pass others requires a spurt of additional fuel. Never stray more than 5 mph or so up or down from the speed limit. It’s both unsafe and bound to cause a speeding ticket.