12 Smart Ways to Save on Gas

Sure, travel season is winding down, but that doesn’t mean saving money on fuel needs to stop. With our daily commuting or just running errands, our vehicles can use up a lot of gas. Here are some smart ways to save money on gas to start using today.

1. Fill Up On Mondays Or Tuesdays
Gas prices tend to increase mid-week for the weekend when most people fill up—particularly on Fridays when most people get paid. So if you want to get the best prices, try filling up on Mondays or Tuesdays before they get up again.

2. Compare Gas Prices
There are several gas apps out there that can help you find the best price for gas right in your town. Gas Buddy and other apps are easy to download and many are free. Download one of these apps and get into the habit of checking it before you fill up en route. Avoid going out of your way to get cheap gas though as this can defeat the purpose.

3. Utilize Your GPS.
Utilize your GPS system when driving to make sure that you’re taking the shortest route. This is especially wise if you’re not sure about where you’re driving.That way, you don’t waste gas while you drive around aimlessly trying to find your location. Some GPS systems can route you around traffic which provides even more savings.

4. Fuel-Efficient Driving
Fuel-efficient driving can not only save you money, but the environment as well. Some tips: Maintain a steady speed as much as possible, avoid accelerating too quickly, avoid braking by coasting to a stop, avoid idling for more than 30 seconds, try to anticipate traffic. You also want follow the speed limit and avoid speeding. Most cars, SUVs and trucks have a “sweet spot” that tends to be between 31 — 62 mph where your engine burns fuel the most efficiently. Try using cruise control on the highway to help you stay at a consistent speed. Driving while following these particular rules will also help you avoid speeding tickets, insurance hikes, auto body repairs and unnecessary wear and tear on your vehicle.

5. Loyalty Programs
Many grocery stores such as Safeway, Costco and Fred Meyer offer their own gas stations and other stores partner with gas station chains to offer stations at the pump. Sign up for a loyalty card and you can use it to save money on gas, up to $1 per gallon in most cases.

6. Consider Alternatives
Distance permitting, leave you car at home and walk or ride your bike. Not only will this save on gas, but you will also receive health benefits such as potentially reducing your risk of heart disease. Another option for longer and daily commutes is to join or start a carpool if you can. This has the added benefit of shortening your commute time as you’ll be able to use High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) lanes.

7. Regular Maintenance
Following a regular maintenance schedule can help you avoid poor fuel economy, related to dirty air filters, low fluid levels, old spark plugs or tires not aligned properly or not inflated to the correct pressure.

8. Lighten Your Load
Clean out your vehicle of anything that you don’t need to improve gas mileage. Only carry around your golf clubs or giant stroller as needed. When you go on road trips, pack as light as possible. Every hundred pounds in weight equals a reduction in fuel economy of 1% to 2%.

9. Don’t Buy Premium Gas
If your car doesn’t require or recommend premium gas, then it won’t increase the performance of your car as it wasn’t designed for it, so don’t waste your money. There’s no compelling reason to buy premium gas if the factory doesn’t recommend it and any small performance gain will be less than the extra cost. However, if you car is designed for premium gas, you need to buy premium gas or you can expect to see a drop in performance equal to what you save at the pump.

10. Check Your Gas Cap
Broken or missing gas caps can cause escaping fumes that hurt your fuel economy. Improving fuel mileage can be as easy as replacing a bad gas cap.

11. Buy Discounted Gas Gift Cards
One way to get fuel for much cheaper is by purchasing gas gift cards at a discount. Even if all you do is save 5-10% off these gift cards, it’s still money that you didn’t have to spend, right?

12. Trade In For a Fuel-Efficient Vehicle
Not everyone can afford a new car, but trading in for a fuel-efficient vehicle is one of the best ways to save money on fuel. You may want to consider a hybrid or even an electric car—over a lifetime, a hybrid car will use half the fuel of a traditional gasoline burning car. With prices on the rise again, a fuel-efficient vehicle is definitely the way to go.

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