The general consensus is that gasoline is never going to be much less expensive than it is right now. Some experts even believe that $5/gallon of gasoline is likely in the future. Making an effort to save money on gasoline is a wise decision in light of the evidence.
As the average person, you might not be able to do much about the price, but you can use several methods to use less of it. Below are several strategies to help defer some of the cost at the pump. It's nice when your gas tank and wallet are both full simultaneously.
1. Find the lowest gas prices. There are numerous websites and phone apps available that will provide you with gas prices in your area. The most popular site and the app is www.gasbuddy.com. The website and app are both free and very easy to use. It's common to save $0.20/gallon or more with just a quick glance.
* If you register with Gasbuddy, you can even win free gas!
2. Avoid heavy traffic. Always easier said than done, but if you're not using all the tools that are available, you're sitting in traffic more than necessary. Between the radio, GPS systems, and phone apps, there's plenty of information out there to help. If possible, drive during times of the day likely to have less traffic.
* Your car is much more fuel-efficient when it can travel at a constant speed.
3. Ensure that your tires are properly inflated and balanced. Tires with the proper air pressure and a decent alignment give your car as much as 3.5% better gas mileage. Look around for a gas station with free air. There are also inexpensive air pumps that plug into your car and inflate a tire in a couple of minutes. Check your tires once a week.
4. Slow down! Most cars provide the best fuel efficiency around 55 mph. For sleek, sporty cars, the number is a little higher. For big trucks and SUVs, the number is lower. In general, driving at 80 mph will use quite a bit more fuel per mile than one cruising down the road at 65 mph. Slow down and save money.
5. Check your oil, transmission, and differential fluids. Keeping your lubricants at the proper level not only minimizes wear and tear, it also allows your car to operate with less friction. Less friction means more miles per gallon.
6. Get your gas away from the city. Large cities frequently have additional taxes on gasoline. When you happen to find yourself away from the bright lights, fill up your tank.
7. Avoid buying premium gasoline. A few cars are designed to run on higher-octane gasoline; their higher-compression engines require it. However, 99% of the cars on the road don't need it and will not run any better or more efficiently because of it. Save your money and buy the regular stuff.
8. Simply don't drive. Drive as littlle as you can. Use your bike, hitch a ride with a friend, or look into public transportation. Consider purchasing a more fuel-efficient vehicle. Anytime you can get someone else to drive you can also get some work done. Try to leave the car at home.
OK. I lied. Here's another suggestion.
9. Consider getting a fuel-efficient car. For Dianne and me, a Kia Rio makes a lot of sense and we are looking to find one someday. We recently completed a 5,000 mile-plus trip in a rented Rio and averaged as much as 50 miles-per-gallon. Another plus for us is the car has no battery. Batteries add thousands of dollars to the cost of the car when they age and eventually fail.
To produce a batteries is also an environmental disaster because batteries require rare minerals that are rare and difficult to mine and the process destroys much of the planet to extract and access them.
Do everything you can within reason to save money at the pump. It's a necessary expense for many of us, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't take steps to minimize that expense. With a little attention, you can save a significant amount of money.
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