How to Save Money While Driving
It’s no secret that the price of gas is on the rise at a remarkable speed on a regular basis. With no estimated date in sight as to when prices will come down, consumers need to be smart about how to save on fuel costs before they reach the pump. Fortunately, there are many ways to save significantly – without requiring a great deal of effort on your part. It’s all about having a better attitude about your driving habits.
- Be less attached to your car. It is not so hard to let go of your emotional investment to something that is drilling a hole in your pocketbook. We’re talking about gas bills and car maintenance. Consider walking or biking when you go to the grocery store. Run errands after work so you won’t have to do it on a free day.
- Warm up your car for shorter lengths of time. In cold mornings, a 30-second warm up period is enough. Engines of modern cars do not require the extensive length of time that older models needed to warm up.
- Buy gas early or late in the day. Because gas is cooler and denser on those times – even during warm months. As temperatures rise, gas density falls and you get less of it when you pump.
- Drive steadily. This is not the time to live out your drag racing dream or impress the other drivers on the road. It only increases fuel consumption and the gas-guzzling perspective of your car.
- Be conscious of your braking attitude. Monitoring when and how you brake will slow down the wearing out of your brake pads. Maintain a safe distance between yourself and the car in front of you when you’re in heavy traffic – that way, you won’t need to brake as often as if you were tailgating. Also, by keeping a bit more distance between you and the car ahead, you can begin braking earlier, especially when approaching a traffic light. By not having to slam on the brakes at the last minute, you’ll improve the efficiency of your car and save gas.
- Turn off the engine. Those extra minutes that the car is running while you wait for your spouse or kids on the way to the mall is a massive waste of gasoline and pollutants to the atmosphere.
- Eliminate wind resistance. Keeping your windows closed will minimize drag and fuel costs in the long run. Also, remember to remove unneeded car racks and carriers. If you normally drive around with a ski rack, bicycle rack, or luggage rack on your roof, take it off when it’s not in use to make your vehicle more aerodynamic.
- Don’t wait to fill up until your tank is almost empty. Because you will have no choice but to pay for whatever gas you find conveniently nearby. Gas stations near the highway are the priciest.
- Monitor your tires. Properly inflated tires reduce friction and offer better gas mileage. Always check the psi (pounds per square inch) regularly – especially during seasons when the weather shifts drastically. Also, if you utilize snow tires during the winter months, be sure to replace them in the spring. Snow tires cause excess friction on dry surfaces, wasting gas.
- Have regular tune-ups. A properly tuned engine uses less gas, so if you can’t remember when you last had a tune-up, it may be time to schedule one.
- Change filters. Clean filters help to keep cars running more fuel efficiently. Check your filters regularly – especially if you live in a dusty area.
- Choose the best route. Whether you’re off to work, going to the supermarket, or dropping off a friend to his house – take the route with the fewest stop signs and traffic lights. The shortest route isn’t always the most fuel-efficient way to go.
Instead of simply waiting for gas prices to plummet, don’t feel like your hands are all tied. Instead of whining, focus on finding clever, simple ways to save money. Invest in an economical vehicle with a high MPG when you make your next purchase, continue to take care of your current vehicle with DIY car maintenance tips, and carpool to work. You may even want to invest in a gas credit card. And if possible, walk or ride a bike whenever the opportunity presents itself, rather than driving. It’s good for the environment, and great for your health.