How to Save Money on Gas
Gas is already expensive, and it's unlikely to get any cheaper in the near future. Here are some tips and tricks to help you stretch your gas budget even further!
It would be nice if we could all just walk or bike or take public transit everywhere we needed to go. It would certainly be healthier, better for the environment, and, on an immediate level, it would be so much cheaper. Because fueling up the car can get very expensive, very quickly.
But many people do not live in such a world! And if you’re reading this article, you’re probably one of them. You might need a car to get to work, to take your kids to school, to take your dogs to doggy school, or any number of other things. And until we can finally get those foot-powered Flintstones cars to work, you’ll probably need gas for your automobile.
Unfortunately, gas can get pretty expensive. If only there was a way to make you gas money stretch budget stretch a little bit further. Well, as it turns out, there’s not only one way you can save money on gas, there are several of them! Read on to find out more!
Apps and sites and a third thing, oh my!
These days there are multiple programs, apps, and websites that can help you save on gas. Just imagine if our ancestors had access to such technology. They wouldn’t have had to spend so much money on hay for their horses, which as we all know were the cars of older times. Like if there was some kind of “Triple Hay” website that would have allowed them to compare different hay prices across states so they could save money when taking long trips …
“My primary recommendation would be the AAA website, especially for families taking a road trip,” advised Piper Bloom, marketing manager for fuel card provider P-Fleet. “AAA allows you to compare prices between states so you can plan where the best fueling site would be. This is extremely helpful as fuel taxes vary dramatically between states.
“Additionally, travelers can download the Voyager App which displays the nearest gas stations and their recent prices, so you can pick the lowest price from the list. They also have a map and navigation functionality which is extremely helpful on-the-go.”
Certified financial planner Karen Lee offered some additional apps and programs you can take advantage of to lower your gas expenses:
“1. Download the GasBuddy app. It helps you find the lowest prices based on the grade of gas your car takes and a distance you’re willing to travel.
“2. Use Kroger Gas points (or something similar if you don’t have Kroger). We regularly save 40 cents to one dollar per gallon each month by accumulating these points based on the grocery shopping we do for the month.
“3. Join Costco or Sam’s Club. You’re likely to save more than the membership costs annually if you routinely use their gas pumps which run cheaper than the regular stations.”
Driver smarter, not harder.
If you can drive more efficiently, you won’t use as much gas, and then you won’t have to buy as much gas. You could also consider a more fuel efficient or even electric car, but obviously, that’s an enormous expense—and if you’re already struggling to afford gas, it’s probably not an option in the near future.
So what can you do to drive more efficiently? Here are some tips from the land down under the Land Down Under: New Zealand!
“If you’re racing up to the next set of lights only to have to brake heavily to a stop, you’re wasting fuel,” warned Darren Cottingham of DT Driver Training. “Look as far ahead as you can—preferably 12 seconds—and anticipate when the lights will change. Brake early and coast to a stop. Try to keep your momentum so that you don’t have to come to a complete stop.
“Eliminating tailgating, or following too closely to another vehicle, is another way of smoothing out your driving. If you’re too close to the car in front as it slows down, the gap gets noticeably shorter very quickly, so you brake. As it accelerates, you accelerate too. This constant cycle of braking and accelerating uses a lot of fuel. If you hang back two seconds behind the car in front you can easily absorb those small fluctuations in their speed often without changing your speed.
“Reducing the weight of your vehicle by not carrying unnecessary items, keeping your tires pumped up to the correct pressure, and maintaining your car’s drivetrain and engine will improve fuel economy. If you have to be stopped for any more than 30 seconds, turn off your engine.
“Finally, don’t take your car out of gear when you are coasting downhill. Apart from being dangerous because you’ll have no power if you need it, you actually use more fuel because the engine has to maintain an idle speed.”
Taylor Covington, marketing associate for The Zebra, echoed the need to keep your car in good shape if you want to save on gas:
“Rotate your tires a little more frequently, generally when you get an oil change or about every 5,000 miles. Moving the tires front-to-back and/or side-to-side will keep the tread wear even. Your car will handle well, you’ll save gas, and your tires will last longer.”
And of course, you can always…
It may seem obvious, but the less you drive, the less gas you’ll use.
“To reduce overall gas consumption, I personally use the half-mile rule,” suggested personal finance writer Dustyn Ferguson. “It’s a rule I made up that says, if it is within half a mile, walk or ride a bike. Starting your car up alone can use up gas and wear down parts that could be saved by just walking whenever you need to go somewhere nearby.”
Now take all of this advice and hit the road! Or you know, walk or bike if you can.
Darren Cottingham is the director of DT Driver Training, a provider of online training for car, motorbike, truck, and forklift drivers. He is also a member of the Institute of Advanced Motorists.
Austin is right up Taylor Covington‘s alley since she loves succulents, adventuring to small Texas towns, camping and hiking. She’s also obsessed with content creation, which is awesome, since that’s her focus on The Z Team! Responsible for maintaining an educational vision for all that The Zebra (@TheZebraCo) publishes, Taylor explains “In Plain English” just what all that insurance jargon means.
Karen Lee has worked in the financial services industry since 1987. She chose Financial Planning as a career specifically to follow her lifelong desire to help others and make a difference in their lives. During this time, she has worked with countless numbers of families, individuals, and small businesses to help them pursue their financial dreams. She has the comprehensive education and experience to handle all aspects of a person’s financial situation.
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