Ways to Save Money at the Gas Pump

18 May 2017
Robert Wilkins
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With the rising cost of gas prices…and no end in sight…everyone wants to save as much money at the gas pump as they possibly can.  You may not be able to control the price of gas but you can change certain habits and follow some basic guidelines to help you save as much money as possible.

 

Paying for your gas the smart way

One of the ways that you can save money at the gas pump is by using a gasoline credit card.  When you have a gas card you’ll be able to get 5 or 10 percent rebate back on the purchase of your gas.  This can amount to as much as $75 to $300 each year.  If you have multiple drivers in your family you’ll want to make sure that every car driving person carries a gasoline credit card with them so that you can take advantage of multiple gas sales. Many gasoline companies are joining up with other retailers to give you numerous savings at the gas pump.

You’ll be able to not only save on your gas purchase, but you’ll be able to earn points towards your next purchase with participating retailers

Keep an eye on your gas consumption

The more aware you are of the amount of fuel that you use the more you can do to try to reduce your gas costs.  If you notice that your gas efficiency is decreasing it could be an indicating factor that your car needs servicing.  Make weekly comparisons with your fuel log that you keep in your car to see how much your gas consumption is going up and your mileage per gallon is going down.  If you are finding that you are constantly seeing less and less performance from your car and spending more for gas at the fuel pump then you’ll know that you need to take action so that you can start seeing a savings in your gas economy rather than a constant deficit.

Buy gas from a busy station

Try to buy your gas from a gas station that is consistently busy and therefore has its underground tanks filled on a regular basis.  Gas stations that are slow will have gas that has been sitting in underground tanks for longer periods of time, leading to gas contamination.  This contamination can mean that the gas you are purchasing is less powerful than fresh gas and will decrease your fuel economy. Try to time your visits to busier gas stations at those busy times but make sure that you’re not in a rush to get anywhere.   

If you’re late for an appointment you may find yourself giving up in frustration if you have to wait to purchase your gas and then find yourself moving over to a gas station that has a higher gas cost for the day. 

Turn the nozzle

When you have finished filling up your gas tank try turning the nozzle of the hose a full 180 degrees. This will drain a bit more gas into your tank; in some cases up to an entire half cup that would otherwise be a bonus to the next gas customer.  Once you get into the habit of turning the hose you’ll find yourself doing it without thinking.  That extra half cup that you get each time that you fill your gas tank can add up to a lot of extra gas at the end of the year that you never have known about.

Keep your car well tuned

One of the best things that you can do is to keep your vehicle as well tuned as you possibly can.  This means taking note of those regularly scheduled maintenance checkups that you so often ignore.

Studies indicate that a car with an engine that is poorly tuned will increase the amount of fuel consumption from 10 to 20 percent.  Information found at www.fueleconomy.gov/  shows that when you tune up a car that is due for a checkup or one that has emissions problems, you can increase the gas mileage by up to 4.1 percent.

Change the oil in your car

Change the oil in your car on a regular basis.  When you keep the oil in your car clean you reduce the wear that is caused by friction in the moving parts of your car’s engine.  Keeping track of your last oil change will save you money at the gas pump and increase your fuel consumption. If you are reluctant or unable to change the oil in your car on your own make sure that you fuel up at a gas station that offers you full service.  This way you can ask the gas attendant to help you fill your car with gas as well as take a look under the hood of your car to change the oil. 

Replace the air filter in your car               

Studies at FuelEconomy.com suggest replacing the air filter in your car on a regular basis.  Replacing a clogged air filter can improve the mileage that you get with your car by up to 10 percent.  When you calculate that 10 percent into gasoline savings, you’ll be saving up to 15 cents per gallon.  You can ask your mechanic to replace the air filter in your car or you can do it yourself.

Replace the fuel filter in your car

Studies show that not only should you be replacing the air filter in your car on a regular basis, you should also be maintaining and regularly replacing the fuel filter.  The cleaner that your fuel filter is the more efficiently your vehicle is going to run, saving you more money in fuel costs.  You can replace the fuel filter yourself or have it replaced when your car is in for a regular maintenance checkup.

Check the alignment of your car

You should be paying attention to the alignment in your car.  Improper alignment will cause a certain amount of engine drag, which will increase the amount of gas that you are using.  The better maintained that car is the better all around performance that you’ll get.  Talk to your mechanic about your next alignment servicing.  One of the ways that you can tell if your car is due for alignment is if there is a pulling on the steering wheel when you are driving.  If you are experiencing a type of pulling action it’s important that you schedule an appointment to have an alignment done.

Rotate your tires

When you regularly rotate your tires and check them for uneven use and wear you will find that you are saving in both tires and gas costs.  After you have an alignment done on your car most mechanics will also rotate the tires.  This doesn’t by any means mean that you should wait until you need an alignment to get those tires rotated. Check your tires regularly to see how they are doing on wear and tear.  If your tires are showing signs of balding you’ll want to replace them immediately since the better your tires are the better fuel consumption you’ll see.

Tire maintenance

Not only should you be maintaining the engine of your car, you should also be paying attention to the tires that you are driving on.

  • Purchase a tire gauge and check your car’s tire pressure every month.  When you are driving around on tires that are under-inflated you can reduce the fuel efficiency of your car by up to 2 percent for each pound that the tires are under-inflated.
  • Under-inflated tires wear out faster, which again contributes to higher gas consumption.
  • Not only will you save on gas consumption when you maintain your tires, studies show that you will also save money on the maintenance of your vehicle by up to $250 each year.
  • The best time to check your tire pressure is when it’s cool outside or in the morning after your car has been sitting for several hours without driving.
  • Use appropriate tires for each season.  When you put away your winter tires in the warm weather you’ll be able to use them for at least two years.

Keep a clean outer car

You can reduce the amount of drag on your car when you keep the exterior clean and waxed.  This will add some gas savings into your pocket.  It may seem like a small thing to do, and you most likely won’t notice any difference at all in your fuel consumption, but keep in mind that every little bit helps when it comes to reducing your gas costs and saving at the gas pumps when you fill your car.  Many times when you purchase your gas at a gas station that has a car wash you can receive money off coupons to use when you wash your car.  This is a great way to save money while keeping your car clean.

  • Avoid fast getaways at the stoplight

Accelerate slowly when the light turns green. The faster that you accelerate the more gas that you are going to consume.  Make sure you start at the stoplight slow and steady so that you conserve as much fuel as possible while you are going from a stopped position into a driving mode.  It may be tempting for younger people to accelerate and race away from the stoplight.  Don’t fall into this trap and you can save up to 20 percent in fuel costs just by being a safe driver.

  • Avoid an idling vehicle

Try to avoid letting your car idle, even on those cold mornings when you try to heat up the car before driving to work.  Studies show that there is no need to let your car idle for more than 30 seconds even in cold weather and that idling will reduce your fuel consumption.  New cars are specifically designed for you to be able to start and drive away immediately without any idle time. Make sure that you get up early enough to scrape the snow and ice off your car in the winter months.  There is no need to start your car while you are cleaning off your windows.  Finish cleaning off your windows and then start your car when you are ready to leave.

  • Avoid using the air conditioner

When you first get into your hot vehicle try to drive with the windows open to let out the hot air and let in a fresh breeze.  If this fails to lower the temperature in your car you can put on the air conditioning.  The air conditioner will work more efficiently and faster if you open up the windows first. If you need to use the air conditioning in your car you should keep in mind that your fuel economy will be reduced by 10 to 20 percent.  One of the ways to use your air conditioner is to use it for minimal amounts of times.  Keep the windows closed when you are using the air conditioning.  Once the car has reached a cooler temperature you can turn off the air conditioning but it is important to note that you should still keep the windows closed since opening them will only allow in the hot air once again.

  • Drive the speed limit

Make sure that you observe the speed limit.  Your gas mileage will decrease rapidly when you travel at speeds over 60 mph.  For every 5 mph that you drive over the 60 mph mark you are adding an extra 10 cents onto each gallon of gas that you purchase.  Source: www.fueleconomy.gov/feg/driveHabits.shtml

Keep in mind that you will be using at least 20 percent more gas when you are traveling at 70 mph than you would driving at 55 mph. If there are other family members in your home that drive, particularly younger drivers, make sure that you keep them aware of the higher fuel costs that are associated with driving too fast and too much over the recommended speed limit that is posted.

Accelerate before hills

If you are approaching a hill try to accelerate before you reach the hill.  This will help you to use up less gas while you are climbing the hill in your car.  Remember to accelerate in a safe manner or you won’t be able to use this gas saving tip.  You in no way want to put your life, or the lives of others, in any danger.

Walk

You will definitely save on gas if you leave your car at home.

In short, We can all saving money at the gas pump and it’s as easy as making a few simple changes in your life and your driving habits.  You don’t need to make big changes all at once but if you try to adopt as many of the tips and suggestions listed you’ll be able to spend your saved money elsewhere next year!