How to Save Gas While Driving
Gas for your vehicle can cost thousands of dollars per year. In fact, most American’s will spend at least $700 annually, with some well over $1,000. These costs can put a dent in your budget especially when you add in the costs of car maintenances and insurance. Save money (and time!) by using these tips to become a more fuel-efficient and safe driver.
Save gas by slowing down
Annoyingly enough, driving slower uses less gas than putting your foot on the accelerator. But there is a point when you will reach maximum efficiency. The best way to gauge fuel consumption is by looking at your car RPMs. This will tell you how much your engine is working. You’ll notice that after your car shifts gears, the RPMs drastically lower. The ideal speed is around 55mph-65mph to save gas. Your vehicle should be in it’s smallest gear and around 2,200 RPMs to keep your fuel consumption low.
Take advantage of drafts
Did you know driving behind a semi-truck can save well over 10% of fuel costs? That’s right, and it’s all because of drafting. For your vice to move forward, your car must cut through the air. That air resistance is the majority of what causes your vehicle to use fuel. You can lower the amount of air resistance by driving behind a larger vehicle.
If you’ve ever witnessed the Tour de France (or any cycling event), you’ll notice that the cyclist will oftentimes be extremely close to one another in order to take advantage of these drafts and conserve energy. This concept is the exact same when it comes to vehicles.
NOTE: You should always keep a safe distance in front of you to avoid a possible collision.
Lose the weight
It may sound minimal but one easy way you can save on gas is to lower the weight of your vehicle. Your car must propel the weight of itself forward against air resistance in order to move. Lowering the weight of your car will help to lower your fuel consumption and save you money at the pump. The Department of Energy estimates that drivers can save anywhere between 3 and 6 cents a gallon (assuming gas prices of $2.97 a gallon) by removing unnecessary weight from your trunk.
Lay off the breaks
Breaking slows down your car to avoid a collision and man. But this also causes you to use more fuel when you accelerate after breaking. Instead of hammering the breaks at the last second, slowly break.
Not only will this help you save on gas, but you’ll get the added benefit of less car maintenance. By keeping your braking to a minimum and lessening the force in which you brake you can
Take right turns only
Transportation and shipping companies like FedEx and UPS are notorious for taking advantage of this tip. By cutting out left turns, you can save on gas that will go to waste while idling, even if it means driving further to avoid them. In addition to saving gas, you’ll also save time by not having to spend as much time yielding to traffic.
Other Ways to Save Gas
Check out these other ways to save money on gas!
Get a new car
While this tip should be considered as a last resort, getting a new vehicle can save you on gas. As cars have advanced, engineers have found ways to make them even more efficient. Newer cars tend to have better fuel economy than older vehicles. You can even opt for a hybrid or electric vehicle which can save you a considerable amount if electricity prices are low in your area.
Always Check Prices Before Filling Up
One of the easiest ways to save on your fuel costs is to check the price of gas between multiple gas stations before you go. Apps like GasBuddy can compare many different stations with several filters like “Closest to You” or “Lowest Overall Price”. Some wholesale clubs will offer discounted gas to their members so it’s worth a check if you’re currently a member. Gas prices can vary widely based on your location and the individual station so it’s always a good idea to check prices before filling up.
Don’t waste money on “fancy” gas
Marketing made it’s way into the oil industry years ago and today it is no different. You’ll often find gas stations that promote their blend of fuel that “keeps your engine running smoothly” or “maximizes your cars’ fuel consumption”. Ignore this marketing fluff and purchase the standard gas that your vehicle requires to save money. These special blends of fuel do not offer many (if any) advantages to your car but add an additional 20% to your gas costs.
NOTE: If your car requires premium gas, purchase premium gas. If not, opt for the regular fuel.
Use a credit card with additional savings on gas
Another great way to save on gas is to use a credit card that offers additional rewards for spending at gas stations. You can find many cards that offer an additional 2-3% in rewards for spending at gas stations which can save you a couple of hundred dollars per year. Check out our credit card reviews to find the credit cards that fit your spending!
Does cruise control save gas?
The convenience of cruise control is now standard in many cars. Even better, adaptive cruise control is becoming more and more common. So what does it do and can it save you gas?
Cruise control effectively manages the speed of your vehicle so that it remains constant. Most drivers tend to use it on the highway or while driving in a straight line for long distances. Cruise control allows you to set a speed and maintain that speed without having to keep a foot on the gas pedal. Typically you can find a way to slightly raise or lower the speed of your vehicle on the steering column.
Cruise control can help you save gas by keeping your foot off of the gas and brake, so your engine can run at maximum efficiency. By maintaining the same speed, your engine is not forced to work harder in order to speed up and slow down frequently. This will keep more gas in your tank.
Will fuel injector cleaner really save me money?
one of the more popular items among those looking to save on gas is fuel injector cleaner. In short, it’s purpose to clean debris that may be latched on to your fuel injectors, which causes you to lose efficiency.
So does it really work?
Slightly. The main concern with fuel injector cleaner is its ability to clean. Think about it this way. If your vehicle has clogged fuel injectors that are causing inefficiencies in your engine, is a single liquid going to be able to clean them? Probably not. On the flip side, if your fuel injectors are only slightly dirty, the fuel injector cleaner could clean them but that means your car is probably running close to maximum efficiency. Add in the cost of the cleaner, and any gas savings could be gone.
Saving on gas is a great way to add additional money back into your budget. From taking more right turns, slowing down your speed, and taking advantage of drafts, there are many ways you can save money on gas and become a more fuel-efficient driver.
What are your favorite ways to save money on gas and spend less at the pump? Comment below!
Get the latest in personal finance, investing, and entrepreneurship delivered straight to your inbox. Join many others and sign up today!