How to Save Money on Gas
Gas prices keep going up, and the money in our wallet keeps evaporating more quickly. There are many ways you can spend less money on gas and reduce your overall fuel consumption. But, you must think it through and begin formulating new plans! One technique that has been around for a while but has drawn more attention recently is hypermiling. However, use your head because some hypermiling techniques are illegal and extremely dangerous.
Change those spark plugs often! Platinum spark plugs may claim to last 100,000 miles (160,000 km), but they have been known to foul up at just 75,000 miles (121,000 km). [citation needed ] Spark plugs are relatively inexpensive and (depending on the vehicle) easy to replace. If you’re not that handy or mechanically inclined, read some auto repair books or be-friend a mechanic.
Limit your driving. This article includes ideas such as carpooling, combining trips and taking the first parking spot you find.
Find good gas prices . This article offers tips about making sure you are paying a competitive price for the gas you do buy. Be sure to recognize the value of the gas you spend to go out of your way.
Take care of your car . A properly maintained vehicle will run more efficiently and give you better mileage, which saves you money in gas.
Fill up efficiently. This involves three things:
- Consider whether to fill your tank up full or halfway. Filling up your tank halfway will reduce your car’s weight, increasing your mileage slightly. However, if your nearest gas station is significantly out of the way of your daily route, make sure to take into account the gas spent driving to the station and the value of your time.
- Don’t top up your tank between fills. It is wasted money and bad for the environment because it invariably forces liquid fuel into the evaporative emissions system, where it overwhelms circuits that route fuel tank vapors to the engine. [citation needed ]
- Wait until you have a quarter tank, but don’t push this any further. Doing this can extend your gas mileage because you are hauling a lighter fuel load. It also gives you the opportunity to buy more gas if you run across a bargain. However, in cold weather, you run an increased risk of condensation in the fuel tank. Running a car with less than a quarter tank can shorten the life of the electric fuel pump, and running on empty will often destroy the pump.
Top off the air in the tires every few weeks to the car manufacturer’s recommended pressure. This is best done when the tires are cold (have not been driven on more than a mile or so). It is proper for them to have a few psi higher pressure after extensive driving, but filling them hot should generally be avoided unless they are very low on air to avoid inaccuracy. Excessive pressure adds very little efficiency and can cause bad handling and uneven tire wear. Some gas stations, notably Sheetz gas stations, have air pumps that are free to use and automatically inflate the tires to a pressure set on the pump. These are very convenient. (If an automatic pump seems to be adding an unexpectedly large amount of air, double-check its progress with a hand air gauge to avoid overfilling.)
- In California, gas station operators are required to offer free air to customers who purchase fuel.
If you are always stuck in rush hour traffic after work anyway, try to find something to do near your work until the traffic dies down, rather than try to fight through it.
Learn how to coast between traffic lights, applying power only as needed to keep the car rolling (more or less) with traffic. Learn to judge terrain and use engine braking to its full potential to keep the car moving ‘for free’, and save more gas over time.
Most car modifications do not improve mileage. Extra wings add drag. Power improvements often hurt mileage. However, if your car is turbocharged, chiptuning may result in a mileage boost. The mileage boost will be canceled out if you drive more aggressively due to power improvements.
Keep meticulous records of what you spend and how many miles you drive so you can quickly spot changes in vehicle performance. It will also help focus you on the goal of saving.
A manual transmission saves an average $1000 on the cost of a new vehicle, and eliminates routine transmission maintenance that an automatic transmission requires (and most people never do this maintenance once the warranty is up – so a used car with an automatic can be a risky purchase). In some cases, a manual transmission gets slightly better mileage overall than an automatic transmission.
Every MPH faster yields you less advantage than the last one. Going 10 mph (16 km/h) is a big difference over 5 mph (8.0 km/h), but there is very little difference between 55 mph (89 km/h) and 60 mph (97 km/h), unless you are on a very long trip. Many people mindlessly speed wherever they go, and gain absolutely nothing but a heftier fuel bill. Assuming everything goes perfectly (and when does it?) going 5 mph (8.0 km/h), even 15 mph (24 km/h) faster on a highway for a short trip will yield nothing but aggravation as you keep catching up to slower traffic.
Many of these tips change slightly if your engine is turbocharged or diesel. For instance, diesel engines use almost no fuel while idling. Diesel trucks will often be left idling all night to provide heat or power for the trucker inside the cab, at the cost of relatively little fuel.
Get a smartphone app that helps to find the cheapest gas.
Often the right-most lanes keep moving more than the left-most in areas prone to traffic-jams. Vehicles continue to exit, which keeps leaving ‘gaps’ to fill in.