I worked for 3 years at a job with a commute of 60+ miles each way. The techniques below helped to decrease my fuel consumption by 20%! -Chipp
I worked for 3 years at a job with a commute of 60+ miles each way. The techniques below helped to decrease my fuel consumption by 20%!
How to Save Gas & Money: Paying less at the pump
With fuel prices constantly on the rise, drivers who are filling with premium and undoubtedly wondering if they can safely switch to regular and save gas money. This would come with a savings of about 30 cents per gallon. A major automotive firm did a blind test on three samples of gasoline and found no major differences. With advances in fuel and engine technology, regular grade gasoline is more than sufficient in most cases. Performance may decrease slightly but most drivers will never even notice. *Tip: It is still a good idea to use a fuel tank cleaning agent 1-2 times per year
- Fill your tanks in the morning
The best time of day to fill up your tank is early in the morning. Fuel is more dense at a cooler temperature. It expands and contracts 1% for every 15-degree change in temperature. Oil companies and distributers account for temperature when they sell to each other. However, distributers make no such adjustments when they sell to us!
You’ll also find cheaper prices in the early mornings. Station managers generally come to work at 7am. The first thing they do is check the competition’s prices. This is when they are adjusted. The best day of the week to save on gas is almost always on a Wednesday. Stations will raise prices on Thursdays for those people going out of town for the weekend. Fill up in the middle of the week and as early as possible to increase the amount you are receiving.
- Don’t wait until your car is empty
We are all guilty of procrastination! However, you can save gas if you stop waiting until your tank is completely empty. It is also bad for your car’s fuel injection system. Besides, thinking about a refill at that point leaves you some time to shop around for a better prices. It is best to wait until you have about a quarter of a tank left.
- Save gas by taking your time at the pump
Always use the slowest setting on the nozzle. I know we are always in a hurry but this is a great way to save money. The faster fuel is pumped, the more vapor it creates. The vapor is either wasted or filtered back to the tanks owned by the gas station. Pump slower and you will increase the amount of gas you receive.
- Don’t overfill your tank
Overfilling is hazardous to the environment and your health. It forces liquid fuel into the evaporative emissions system where it overwhelms circuits that are only designed to handle fuel tank vapors. You are better off waiting to spend that extra .60 cents on your next visit.
- Hit the road if the tanks are being filled
This tip is more about increasing your car’s life than it is about how to save gas. However, it is a very important piece of information. If you see a tanker truck filling up the station’s tank, just keep driving. Sludge in the tanks is being stirred up and you don’t want to transfer that into your car.
- Learn where to find the cheap gas
In most regions, you will find the cheapest gas prices in the same areas. In major metro areas, this seems to be the outlying suburbs. The more convenient the location, the more you are likely to spend. People in these areas are more concerned with time and convenience. The gas stations are well aware of this fact. Also, these locations likely require hire taxes for the business. More overhead means that more of those expenses will be passed along to the consumer. Gas stations near major freeway exits are a good example of this. You can improve your costs and save gas by filling up at the right station. Here is a useful tool to find the best prices in your area: gasbuddy.com
- Find the right type of station
Some stations are always the price leaders in an area. Wholesale clubs, grocery and department stores with fuel stations will offer the most gas savings in order to get people into their stores. Some of these places do require memberships. The cost of the membership must be factored into the price. Some of these stations also give you a credit for in store purchases when you fill up. This can result in considerable savings. On the other hand, service stations with an auto repair shop on site often have more expensive prices.
How to save gas: Take advantage of discounts available
Some stations have coupons available for discounts on gas purchases. You can usually find these coupons on the back of grocery store receipts, mail or internet coupons. Many stations allow you to save gas with the purchase of a car wash. Another great way to save money on gas is by using rebate credit card. Cards offer anywhere from 2-5% cash back bonuses at gas stations. Research the terms and conditions of these cards carefully. Shoot me a message on twitter if you need a recommendation.
Save Money: How to Improve Gas Mileage While Driving
- Save by avoiding high speeds
As your speed increases, your aerodynamic drag increases. Driving 62 mph vs 75 mph will reduce fuel consumption by about 10-15%! I am just as guilty as anyone else when it comes to always being in a hurry. However, if you are looking for tips on how to improve gas mileage, this is the perfect place to start saving. Try to drive at a constant speed in the 60-65 mph range. Dust off that cruise control button and turn on the tunes!
- Keep tires properly inflated
Keep the air pressure in your tires at the recommended levels. One tire under inflated by 2 PSI, decreases gas mileage by 1%. From my experience, many drivers are anywhere from 2-15% under inflated! This is a quick way to save gas.
Note: If you set your air pressure to the higher end of the suggested range to improve gas mileage, watch out for rising temperatures. If your car recommends 32-38psi, you may choose to set your tires to 38psi for the best fuel economy. However, if the temperature increases, your tires may jump 4-5 psi because of the expanded air.
- Changing spark plugs can also improve gas mileage
Platinum spark plugs may claim to last 100,000 miles, but they have been known to foul up at just 75,000 miles. Spark plugs are relatively inexpensive and easy to replace. This is a quick way to make your care more efficient.
- Use your A/C sparingly
Your vehicle’s air conditioner puts an extra load on the engine. This can increase fuel consumption by 10-20%! Try to use your windows when the weather cooperates.
How fast should you speed up? The trick is to use a fair amount of throttle. You want the most fuel efficient use of power while reaching the desired speed. We want to accomplish this while also making sure the engine is not working extra hard. This will vary from vehicle to vehicle. Altitude, air pressure and humidity also play a role.
The best way to accelerate is by keeping your engine at peak torque. Accelerating too slow or too fast are both inefficient and will reduce your fuel economy numbers. Ideally, you want to use between 50-75% throttle.
- Improve efficiency by changing your air filter
Changing a dirty air filter can easily improve gas mileage by 1-2 mpg. Unfortunately, most dealerships and service stations mark up air filter replacements costs by 75-100%. This is simple maintenance that you can do yourself. My service station charges $36 for an air filter replacement. I do it myself for $18 and it takes me less than 1 minute.
- Do not use your heater for the first 5 minutes in the winter
Using the heater or defroster immediately upon starting your car has a negative impact on your fuel consumption. It could delay the engine’s ability to reach the optimum fuel temperature.
- Learn how to draft (Safely)
You can use other vehicles on the road to your advantage when the opportunity is right. If you can find a larger profile vehicle to drive behind, it can lower the air resistance and improve gas mileage. This results of this method are debatable. If you do decide to try it, please follow at a safe distance.
- Avoid Idling For Long Periods of Time
If you anticipate being stopped for more than 1 minute, shut off the car. Restarting the car uses less fuel than letting it idle.
This may take some time to get use to. Assume you want to average 55 mph. Accelerate gradually to 60 mph and then allow your vehicle to decelerate, in Neutral, to 50 mph. This is known as the glide. Then accelerate back up to 60 mph in the same amount of time that the glide took. This is know as the pulse. Please use good judgement when attempting this technique. It is easy to anger other drivers if you are not considerate of the people around you.
- How to save gas while driving hills
Try to limit your acceleration when ascending hills. Coast for as long as you can and then maintain constant throttle (not speed). Accelerate back to your cruising speed when going down the hill.
- Pretend you have no brakes
If you didn’t have brakes, you’d only go as fast as you needed to ensure you could stop at your next destination. Coasting will help you to improve gas mileage. Try to change the manner in which you drive so you use your brakes as little as possible.
- Purchase a Fuel Efficient Vehicle
A new wave of hybrid vehicles are on the market. These cars are capable of getting 45+ MPG. Keep in mind that unless you do a lot of driving, it may be difficult to save enough money to justify paying the premiums that these vehicles command at the dealership. There are a number of other non-hybrid vehicles available that can also save you money.