How To Save Money On Gas:
36 Ways Oil Companies Won’t Talk About
How to save money on gas, fuel economy and gas mileage seems to be a big deal when gasoline prices are climbing higher and higher. In this article I will show how to save on gas using 36 different methods to save money and and make your car more fuel efficient.
Let’s get started saving you gas and increasing fuel economy.
#1 How to Save On Gas:
Find Lower Gasoline Prices
Finding the gas station in your area with the lowest gasoline prices is easier that you might think. I found a web site that does it for you called GasBuddy.com. There you can drill down to your very city to find the best price.
Gas Buddy even has an interactive gas map that shows you fuel prices by color-coding a “gas temperature” map of the entire United States. You can zoom in on your home or work area or your can search by city or town name.
Now you can find the cheapest gasoline prices and their location based on your commute to work, home or school. You could even plan a trip across the county using routes that sport the lowest prices.
#2 How to Save On Gas:
Move To A Walk Friendly Community
Gas Prices and fuel economy are not an issue when you walk.
This may not be for everyone but there are many benefits to living in an area where you can walk to work, school, shopping, restaurants and entertainment.
This doesn’t mean you have to give up your car to save on gas. It just means you have added options for saving a few bucks by walking. Eventually it all adds up.According to Michael Bluejay, during your lifetime you will pay $100,000 for each extra mile you live away from your work. Click To Tweet
#3 How to Save On Gas:
Switch Jobs / Move Closer
I know young families move farther out so they can afford a bigger house. What most people don’t figure into the equation is how much will it cost to travel the extra distance to your job? Even with great gas mileage, the farther you travel each day, costs you more money in gas and wear and tear on your vehicle – not to mention your time.
The truth of the matter is that a long commute usually ends up costing more in in gas and related expenses than you would save on the purchase of a home far away from work.
According to Michael Bluejay, during your lifetime you will pay $100,000 for each extra mile you live away from your work.
Regardless of your car’s fuel economy, that works out to about $1,000,000.00 lost to an average household of two working adults living an increase distance of only ten miles away from work. There’s an also an excellent blog post discussing this very topic titled the True Cost of Commuting.
#4 How to Save On Gas:
Aligned Your Tires
When your car’s tires are not properly aligned, they are either pulling away from each other, pushing into each other or pushing your car to one side or the other. This causes you to correct the car’s direction by way of the steering wheel
In any case, misaligned tires and wheels are working against each other and you. This is lowering your gas mileage and cost you real money.
Misaligned tires force your car’s engine to work much harder to move you and you car forward. This of course, uses more gas and thereby reduces your vehicle’s gas efficiency. A good wheel alignment restores coordination allowing your tires to work together reducing road friction and increasing fuel efficiency.
#5 How to Save On Gas:
Switch To a Car w/ High Fuel Efficiency
Check the fuel efficiency and gas mileage of your car and find one that makes more sense for your needs. Larger cars/truck tend to guzzle more gas. PUT LINK to Car Guide Here Hybrid prices may not be as expensive as you think these days. Find a more fuel efficient car here. Then scroll down until you see a set of images like this.
On the web site, start by clicking on the vehicle image the best suits your desired car or truck and it will tell you the city, highway, and combined miles per gallon EPA rating and average annual fuel cost for that vehicle.
#6 How to Save On Gas:
Map Your Route Ahead of Time
Instead of making several trips in a day or week, consolidate those excursions into one or two trips. Plan the most efficient route to hit all your stops in the same outing.
#7 How to Save On Gas:
Fill Up Before Holiday Gas Prices
We all know gasoline prices go up just before the holidays especially around the holidays on which we are most likely to travel. (Think Memorial Day, Labor Day Christmas and Thanksgiving.)
Service stations know this and hike their gasoline prices accordingly.
Fill up well before a holiday (at least three days) and buy at the lower pre-holiday gas prices.
#8. How to Save On Gas:
Fill Up before 9-10 a.m.
Get Cheaper Gasoline Prices
Before 9 a.m.
Some say Wednesday is the cheapest day of the week to fill your tank, others say Mondays or Saturdays. The one thing everyone seems to agree on is that gas stations change their prices midmorning.
So, make your gas run before you go to the office in the mornings. You don’t know how many times I have filled up in the morning and see higher prices on my way home from work.
Those that swear Tuesday is the best day to fill up say they often see prices increase on Wednesday or Thursday because the Department of Energy releases its new petroleum status reports on Wednesdays.
The bottom line is that each community will have its own free market reasons for changing prices on a certain day of the week. If you pay attention, there will be a pattern emerge of which day of the week has the average lowest gasoline prices.
All you really need to know is which service station consistently has the cheapest gas and find out what day of the week they have the lowest prices. The best and worst days to buy gas is explained well in this GasBuddy article.
#9 How to Save On Gas:
Use A Loyalty Program.
Loyalty Programs can lower
gasoline prices by 5¢/gal.
Most national and regional gas companies offer loyalty programs of one sort or another.
These programs offer an easy convenient way to consistently pay less for fuel. They offer 3-5¢ or more off every gallon of gas you buy using their loyalty card.
Forbes magazine wrote and article on fuel saving via loyalty programs that is worth reading. Rewards programs like these can really save you big money over time. Gasbuddy also has a loyalty card that works at all stations.
Going on vacation or a trip soon? Stay somewhere that gives you a deal on your gas bill. There are several family-friendly resorts that offer travel packages complete with gas rebates.
Frommer’s posted several examples that show you how to save on gas the you still might be able to take advantage of. They showed rebates from $50 to $100. That’s pretty substantial in my book.
#10 How to Save On Gas:
Gas companies are not the only ones who offer you a way to lower the price of gasoline. Try your local bank.
Many major bank credit cars will also offer discounts on gasoline purchases.
You can find a partial list of bankcards that offer gasoline rewards in this Forbes article entitled, “Credit Cards Offer Some Relief From Gas Prices”.
Be sure you pay off the balance of these cards in full each month to avoid finance charges.
#11 How to Save On Gas:
Just Park Already!
I’m a guy and I just park in the first space I see that is reasonable close to the front doors of my destination.
My wife on the other hand, spends a bit more time looking for just the right space that is three of four steps from the entrance. (I may be exaggerating slightly.) This is not being fuel efficient!
Unless you’re disabled in some fashion, park as soon as you find a space.
All that driving around to find a closer parking space wastes gas and lowers your gas mileage. Besides, walking a little farther could do us all a bit of good anyway.
#13 How to Save On Gas:
Change the Oil
Want Better Fuel Economy?
Change Your Oil
Simply changing your oil as recommended by your car’s manufacturer ensures your engine is running at its peak, which translates into optimum fuel efficiency. Edmunds has an interesting article about the 3,000 mile oil change and other myths. This article also demonstrate how to save gas by not taking NEEDLESS trips to change your oil.Did you know Edmunds has an interesting article about the myth of the 3,000 mile oil change. Save gas by not taking NEEDLESS trips to change your oil. Click To Tweet
#14 How to Save On Gas:
Change The Air Filter
A Dirty Air Filter Restricts Air Flow
and Causes Your Engine To Work Harder
An overly dirty air filter on your car can severely reduce the amount of air flowing into your engine. When this happens, the engine will have to work much harder and suck more gas than should.
A clean air filter delivers normal levels of air to the engine and therein uses less gas contributing to better gas mileage.
In addition, a high flow air filter that increases the amount of air to the engine will usually increase gas mileage. (see #16 below)
#15 How to Save On Gas:
Park in the Garage
Decreases Fuel Economy
In colder weather areas, when your engine is stone cold or even colder, your car’s fluids gets thick and causes much more resistance than when your car’s engine is warmed up to it’s peak operating temperature.
This applies to your transmission and entire drive train as well. A very cold drive train will negatively affect your gas mileage until everything warms up.
Running the engine to warm it up before you start your trip will actually lower your fuel efficiency because while your are idling you get 0 miles per gallon. And warming the engine does not warm up the entire drive train.
A smarter solution is to park in a warmer location (your garage will do). This will increase the starting temperature of your car’s entire drive train and will better protect it from the frosty nights. Don’t warm up your car by idling (see #16). Driving will warm everything up much faster anyway.
#16 How to Save On Gas:
Move To Arizona! *
When driving in very chilly weather, the cold air is a lot denser. This thicker air increases the aerodynamic drag on your car or truck and reduces fuel economy.
This is especially true when traveling at higher highway speeds.
Icy cold air flowing across your radiator, does not allow your engine to warm up which lowers fuel economy as well.
But, that’s not all.…
That precision motor under the hood of your car uses air, as well as gas. The air, or more precisely the oxygen, is carefully measured into a fuel/oxygen mix ratio for optimum efficiency.
This mixture is then sent into the combustion chamber of the engine where it is burned to produce power.
In cold weather, oxygen molecules are packed tighter together. (Warm air expands – cold air contracts) To compensate for the extra oxygen coming through the intake, your car engine will adjust by adding more fuel. Using more fuel each combustion cycle gives you poorer fuel economy.
The colder the air temperature, the worse the fuel economy will be. There is a great explanation of this at Green Car Reports.
So how do you reduce the effects of cold weather on your gas consumption?
The easiest answer is to just move to Arizona. This would also solve the cold weather problems raised in #15 above. But, moving to Arizona may not be the most practical thing to do.
You can just drive at a warmer time of day. The warmest time of day will depend on where you live. The farther away from the equator, the later in the day you will experience your peak temperatures. Seasons matter too. But in general, sometime between 3:00 pm and 6: pm will record your hottest temperatures.
In Arizona, our high temperatures peak at about 4:00 pm in the summer. To find your local warm time, go to the Weather Channel’s web site, find your local forecast and click on the hourly forecast. It should tell you the temperatures by hour of the day.
By the way, in cold weather, many people use four-wheel drive vehicles. Your gas mileage will increase by driving in two-wheel drive, but if four-wheel drive is safer, of course be safe.
* (moving to Arizona will increase your ambient temperature but if you don’t move to join us in Arizona, at least, drive at the warmest time of day)
#17 How to Save On Gas:
If you own a bike, you already know one way how to save gas. Use you bicycle once in a while to pedal to work. This may not be feasible for everyone for many reasons. But consider it an occasional deviation from the norm, if not your standard practice. An ABC traffic poll reported that the average American commutes 16 miles to work on way.
That’s 32 miles each day. How many gallons does your vehicle use to cover that distance? You could save by biking.
#18. How to Save On Gas:
Decrease Your Octane.
There is no sense buying high octane gas when your trying to save money. Every time you buy lower octane, you are also lowering your gasoline prices by as much as 10¢/gal.
The lowest manufacturer’s recommended octane for your car will be just fine. You can find that recommendation in you car’s owner’s manual.
However, most cars today can use the lowest-octane gasoline sold at the pumps.
#19 How to Save On Gas:
Don’t top off your tank just to top it off. As a matter of fact, wait until you’ve got a quarter of a tank or less. You’ll use less gas by making fewer trips to the gas station and your gas mileage will improve with a lighter load. Your gas mileage will actually improves as you get closer and closer to empty. Don’t take this too far or you’ll find yourself stranded on the side of the road!
#20. How to Save On Gas:
Did You Know:
It’s Against The Law To Idle in France!
There are lots of times we might be inclined to sit with the motor running. You get zero miles per gallon when you’re not moving.
Eliminate the following common idle habits and save $$$.
- Warming up the car
- Waiting to pick up kids after school
- Waiting in the car while someone runs into the store
- Idling at stop lights. (use the freeway when possible)
- Waiting to pick someone up at the airport
- Running something into a neighbor’s house (Turn it off)
- Using the drive-thru at a bank or fast food (Go inside)
You get the idea. Don’t Idle.
Did you know that in France it is even against the law to idle? This law has been on the books since 1963 and there is a large fine for letting you car idle while parked.
Automakers have introduced “Stop/Start” technology to take advantage of the fuel efficiency gained by this relatively new technology. General Motors offered 13 models with this technology in 2017 and 19 different models in 2018.
Start-stop systems shut down and restarts the engine on vehicles automatically thus reducing engine idle time. This increase fuel economy while reducing auto emissions. This is most effective during heavy traffic.
It’s a little weird when you stop at a stop light and your engine turns off, but when you hit the gas pedal, it starts again and you continue driving. I will say that this stop/start technology is not very popular among American drivers.Did you know that in France it is against the law to idle in your car? This law has been on the books since 1963 and there is a large fine for letting you car idle while parked. Click To Tweet
#21 How to Save On Gas:
Be a Smooth Driver
Smooth Stops and Starts
Increase Fuel Economy
Drive smoothly. Don’t speed up and slow down. Try to accelerate slowly from any stopped position to get the best gas mileage. When you reach your desired speed, maintain that speed at a near constant rate. Slowly decelerate (coast) when approaching stop lights and stop signs.
Changing your speed constantly reduces fuel efficiency. It’s usually not worth the few seconds of time you think you’re saving.
#22 How to Save On Gas:
Make sure your gas cap is in proper working order and it not allowing gas fumes to vent. Check the seals in the inside of the cap. If they are broken, cracked or missing, get a new gas cap. You money is evaporating into thin air.
#23 How to Save On Gas:
Fill It Clear Up.
Even if you have a big tank, fill it up all the way! That may cost you a large chunk in that moment, but coming back many times for gas costs even more. One stop shop for gas is the most economical policy. You’ll also save time by going longer between fill-ups.
#24 How to Save On Gas:
Pump It Up!
Check Tire Monthly
To Save On Gas
Keep your tires properly inflated. We’ve been told this for years. And over time your tires will loose pressure. A rule of thumb is check them at least every month or at each fill up. You can save as much as 3.3% on you gas bill by keeping tires properly inflated.
#25 How to Save On Gas:
On hot sunny days, gas can evaporate more quickly. Yes you have a gas cap, but evaporation can still occur. Parking in the sun just makes the problem worse. So when you have a choice of parking in the shade, I think you know which one you’d prefer.
Also, you be more comfortable when you get back in your car. (For additional information check out How Evaporative Emission Control Systems Work.)
#26 How to Save On Gas:
Empty The Trunk.
10% In Lower Vehicle Weight
Improves Fuel Economy by 5 to 8%.
Got a trunk full of junk? Get rid of it. All that extra weight reduces fuel efficiency. This goes for taking stuff out of the bed of your pickup too. Weight reduction in new cars is a major goal for automotive manufacturers.
In the article, “Learn More About Fuel Economy“, it is revealed that every reduction of 10% reduction in vehicle weight can deliver fuel economy improvements of 5 to 8%. Lose the junk in the truck and save gas and money.
#27 How to Save On Gas:
Leave The Tailgate Up!
Aerodynamics is important. You might think leaving the tail gate down would reduce drag. If you think this your dead wrong. Consumer Reports did a study on this that was quite revealing. Driving with the tailgate down actually reduced fuel economy.
#28 How to Save On Gas:
When taking about drag and aerodynamics, the first thing that should come to mind is that big bulky rooftop cargo carrier. That has got to go if it’s not being used.
Also remove any bike racks and ski racks if they are not currently in use. They cause drag and make the engine work harder to maintain speed. The cargo carrier alone can cause efficiency losses from 10 to 22%. (See article by Jonathan Marshall)
#29 How to Save On Gas:
Turn Off AC
Everyone knows that turning off the air conditioning in your car improves gas mileage. But at highway speeds, rolling down your windows increases air drag and does away with any saving you might have gained.
However, at slower speed, this strategy makes sense. Rolling down your car windows at slower speeds won’t cause enough drag to offset the saving realized by keeping the air conditioning off. I would say the air conditioning is the best choice at highway speeds.
#32. How to Save On Gas:
According to the U.S. Department of Energy, for each 5 mph you drive over 50 mph you will effectively be paying an additional $0.25 per gallon for gas. Your Gas mileage will decreases rapidly any time you travel over 60 mph.
Drive the speed limit and save not only the gas, but your life.
Oh, yea! …and save the cost of a speeding ticket.
#33 How to Save On Gas:
Use The Cruise
Edmunds did a test on the effectiveness of using cruise control to increase fuel efficiency. Even they were surprised with the results. They encountered up to a 14-percent savings under ideal conditions but their average savings came out at 7 percent. You should try it.
NOTE: In mountainous areas they suggest turning cruise control off.
#34 How to Save On Gas:
Buy Smart Tires
I only learned recently that there is such a thing as “Smart Tires”. Smart tires actually have a lower rolling resistance on rad surface that regular tires..
Low-rolling resistance tires can add 1 or 2 mpg to your vehicle’s gas mileage. (Man, this is starting add up)
Tire Rack did a very impressive study on this topic. You can check it out here. So when you have to buy new tires, ask your dealer to tell you about low-rolling resistance tires and their prices. Those saving could really add up.
#35 How to Save On Gas:
Buy Gas at Night
Cooler Ambient Air at The Pump
Causes Less Evaporation of Gas
When buy your gas at night or in the early morning hours, the ambient air is cooler and so there will be less evaporation at the pump. During the heat of the day, you are more likely to smell fumes while pumping gas, due to evaporation during hot afternoons. Avoid gassing up in the heat of the day.
#36 How to Save On Gas:
These days using a mapping service online can avoid all kinds of headaches while saving you money. Avoid back tracking, traffic jams, road construction and more with online and smartphone apps like these:
- Gasbuddy App for smart phones shows you the lowest gas prices and the best places to refuel between destinations.
- MapQuest maps out itineraries for multiple destinations. This can help you map out the best route to save gas.
- Gas Trip Calculator maps your trips and tells you how much it will cost.
- Waze app provides traffic conditions gathered from its subscribers.
These area just a few of the helpful apps and online sources that can help you map out a fuel efficient and money saving trip. I am sure there are many more out there. The point is, use them to assist you.
Be glad if you live in America. Our gasoline prices are some of the cheapest in the world. Want to compare? Check out Bloomberg’s ‘Pain at the Pump’ interactive country price comparison tool. If you don’t live in the States, my apologies. These tips will help you regardless.
You won’t save money if you needlessly drive across town to get gasoline at the cheapest price!
Full-time blogger, mentor and entrepreneur. Join me here on Living The American Dream to learn how to live your American Dream.