7 Ways to Save Money on Gasoline

A girl in a yellow shirt putting gas on her car and trying to save money on gas

Save money on gasoline is difficult when gas prices continue to rise. Everyone is looking for ways to cut costs. Even if you aren’t taking a long trip this summer, driving to work and home every day and running errands can quickly eat up the fuel in your gas tank. Check out these key tips on how to reduce your fuel burn this summer.

1. Use a Gas Rewards Card

If you use a credit card frequently, a gas rewards card may help your wallet. Gas rewards cards are credit cards that give you a discount on gasoline when you make fuel purchases with the card. The amount of the discount can vary depending on the specific rewards program.

Some offer a flat cash-back rate at the pump, while others offer discounts based on your spending level. Some cards offer up to 5% back on gasoline purchases. If you use a rewards card, pay off the balance in full each month. Otherwise, any money you save at the pump would be offset by interest fees on your balance.

2. Maintain Your Car

Simple car maintenance can increase fuel efficiency and reduce wear and tear on your car. Keep your tires properly inflated, replace dirty air filters, and change your oil regularly. When tires are underinflated, your car must work harder and burn more fuel to go the same distance. The proper inflation pressure is listed on the tire information sticker in your vehicle’s door jamb or in the owner’s manual.

Replacing or cleaning clogged air filters and air filters on vehicles with fuel-injected or computer-controlled gasoline engines will also improve your gas mileage and make it easier for your engine to breathe.

3. Use Gas Saving Technology

Many people do not realize that there are many types of devices available to help you save money on gas. These include fuel injectors, electronic sensors, and other devices that can be used in combination with your car’s engine to reduce fuel consumption. Read up before investing, though, since some sources say these devices don’t work while some car owners swear by them. 

4. Save money on Gasoline by Changing Your Driving Habits

Simply altering how you drive can help improve gas mileage. When possible, plan your errands so you don’t make multiple stops, which will waste gas as you start and stop your engine. If possible, combine errands with trips to work or school. Avoid aggressive driving and speeding. These behaviors not only waste gas but also put everyone on the road in danger. Use cruise control when it’s safe to do so; it helps you maintain a steady speed on the highway and can boost your fuel economy by 15-30%, according to Cars.com.

Avoid long warm-ups or idling. Warming up a vehicle for more than 30 seconds before driving away does not improve engine performance and wastes fuel. Turn off the engine if you expect to be parked for more than a minute, such as at drive-up restaurants and toll booths.

5. Get Gas Where Prices Are Lowest

Prices fluctuate throughout the week and month, so be aware of where gas is cheapest in your area. You can use an app like GasBuddy to find the closest station with the lowest prices. Don’t drive many miles to fill up your gas tank as the extra mileage wastes gas, too.

6. Consider an Eco-Friendly Filling Station

In Germany and the Netherlands, alternative fuel stations are commonplace. In the U.S., however, only about 1% of all filling stations offer an eco-friendlier option such as E85 (15% gasoline, 85% ethanol) or biodiesel. These fuel options are better for the environment and less expensive than traditional gasoline.

While E85 or biodiesel may not be available in your area, it’s worth looking into if you live near a city. You can find where alternative fuel stations are located by visiting FuelEconomy.gov or AFDC Alternative Fueling Station Locator.

7. Save Money on Gasoline by Fueling Early in the Day When Prices Are Lowest

The next time you fill up, do so early in the day when prices are lowest. When it’s hot outside, fuel expands and the pressure at the pumps is higher. During the morning hours, there is less expansion, meaning you get more fuel for your money.

The next time you’re looking for a gas station, use one without a convenience store attached. Companies that own these stores have to pay rent on them and often charge more per gallon to compensate.

The Bottom Line

With gas prices on the rise, extra savings can go such a long way. Every little bit helps when you’re trying to make ends meet. Keep these money-saving tips in mind when buying your next tank of gasoline. Saving monthly on gasoline costs can add up to big savings over a year. You can even save more by driving in a much greener fashion.

Driving Tips: Get the Most Miles On Your Gas

Man and woman driving a convertible under a sunny weather

Inflation is causing gas prices to rise higher by the day. Each time you fill your gas tank, you are paying more money to drive the same amount of miles as usual. Each car has a certain number of miles per gallon that it can drive, which is also called its gas mileage. Your car’s gas mileage is largely set by factors you can’t change, like the size of your engine and the weight of your vehicle.

There are, however, small steps you can take to maximize your gas mileage. Here are some easy driving tips you can follow: 

1. Roll down the window

Blasting your air conditioning nonstop may help you stay cool, but it makes your car work harder. To use less gas, consider using your air conditioner a little less.

2. Keep the ride smooth

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency suggests using your car’s cruise control to keep your speed more constant, which will lessen your engine’s demand for gas.

Aggressively accelerating and braking also require more gas for every sudden start and stop. Try and keep your driving as smooth as possible.

3. Check that tire pressure

Keeping your car’s tires at their optimal pressure helps you optimize gas usage. Being properly inflated also increases the traction of your tires and keeps you safer on the road. The recommended PSI (pounds per square inch) of pressure for your tires can often be found in your car’s owner’s manual or printed on the door jamb of your driver’s side door.

Car tires lose more pressure in cold weather, so you may need to check your car’s tires more often during the winter months.

4. Don’t carry around things you don’t need

In general, the heavier your car is, the more gas it will use. If there is a period of time when you know you won’t be using the bike or other storage rack on your vehicle’s roof, consider removing it. Also, unpack any unnecessary cargo from the trunk or car’s interior.

5. Leave the car off

This is one of the driving tips that are easy and the most common: leave your car off until you’re ready to drive.

Idling, or leaving your car running while it’s parked or while you are stopped for longer lengths of time, also uses unnecessary gas. Although remote starters have made it easy, especially in colder climates, to start a car early in order to warm up its interior, making a habit of doing so can mean you’ll have to fill your car up more often.

It’s now much more common for drivers to pick up items and food they’ve ordered online by waiting for them to be delivered to your car in the parking lot. If you’re going to be waiting for your order for more than a minute or so, and you can get by without the heating or air conditioning, consider turning the car off.

6. Keep the oil changed and the car maintained

Including in this driving tips list is changing your oil.

Driving for too long between oil changes can mean you’re driving with old oil. Your engine has to work harder when it’s working with old oil, and that can decrease your fuel efficiency.

As gas prices increase, it can be important to take tiny, personal steps to maximize your vehicle’s gas mileage. The longer you can go between trips to the gas station will translate to bigger money savings for you.

You can also read more about driving here.

All-Wheel Drive vs. Snow Tires: Which is Better for Winter Driving?

a red vehicle in contrast to which is between between all-wheel drive and snow tires

The combination of freezing road surfaces and slippery snow makes winter driving treacherous. Drivers have two choices to stay safe: an all-wheel-drive car or a two-wheel drive car equipped with snow tires. Learn the strengths of each option to decide whether you are better served by snow tires or an all-wheel-drive car.

Why Buy All-Wheel Drive Autos for Winter?

Whether you prefer an SUV, crossover, truck, or car, you will find a version equipped with all-wheel drive, which chooses whether to send power to the front or back tires depending on the terrain. Two-wheel drive autos, in contrast, send power either to the front or back depending on the individual make and model. The advantage of all-wheel drive is that power goes where your car needs it to improve traction in rough terrains, such as winter weather.

If you live in an area with heavy winters or wet, muddy springs, all-wheel drive is a smart choice. These cars can give drivers peace of mind that is well worth their extra price.

One of the cons is their gas mileage, which tends to be less than comparable two-wheel-drive cars. You will pay more upfront for all-wheel drive, plus more each time you gas up, so two-wheel drive cars are a better choice for budget shoppers.

Why Buy Snow Tires for Winter

Fans of snow tires like the ability to get better traction on winter roads just by putting on a new set of tires. Dedicated snow tires have a more flexible tread that grips the road and freezing conditions, which helps to reduce skids. These tires have a deeper groove than all-season tires, which increases traction on snow and ice. With all-season tires, there’s a risk of skidding if the tire treads become impacted by snow and ice.

If you live in an area that only sees snow occasionally, snow tires should suffice. As long as you remove them promptly at the end of winter, you will be able to use them for several years to come.

Winter tires or snow tires are not cheap, but they do cost less than an all-wheel-drive car. End-of-season sales often bring discounts. By planning ahead, you can save money. If you are planning to go out of the state, you may want to decide on the shipping factor as well. Know how to ship a car to another state that can save you a little more money in your pocket.

Now that you understand how snow tires are compared to all-wheel-drive vehicles, you can decide what’s best for you. With either choice, it’s important to stay safe and remember basic winter driving principles. 

Your Spring Cleaning Vehicle Checklist

woman on the road feeling ecstatic with her car spring cleaning her up on the air and basking in the sun

Car spring cleaning can help you make things easier and safer. Driving in the winter months can be challenging, and the dangers are not all behind the wheel. Even if you survive the ice and snow of winter, your car can suffer hidden damage. The road salts that make the highways safe can also cause rust in the exposed undercarriage of your vehicle, and the potholes that winter leaves behind can throw your car out of alignment and make driving more dangerous.

Now that the winter is finally gone and spring has sprung, it is time to give your car a spring cleaning of its own. Taking the time to repair the damage of winter and get your car ready for the hot weather ahead can keep you safer behind the wheel, and even extend the life of your vehicle. Here is a simple spring cleaning checklist for your car.

Give the undercarriage a thorough cleansing. The spring thaw is here, so hook up your hose and spray down the undercarriage of your car. This thorough cleaning will remove any residual road salt and other corrosive chemicals.

Check your wiper blades. The winter weather can take a toll on your windshield wipers, so make sure they are ready for those spring and summer thunderstorms. A new pair of wiper blades costs just a few dollars, and the extra visibility will make driving safer.

Clean your carpets and floor mats. You probably dragged in your fair share of road salt and other particles during the winter driving season, and now is the time to remove them. Start by pulling your floor mats and giving them a thorough cleaning, then do the same for your automotive carpeting.

Check the tire pressure. Your tires can lose a significant amount of pressure in cold weather, even if there is not a leak. Now is the time to check your tire pressure and inflate them if necessary. Be sure to check the tire pressure regularly, preferably every time you fill up the tank.

Give your windows a thorough spring cleaning. Visibility is important to your safety, so make sure your windows are sparkling clear. Use a special windshield cleaning tool to remove any accumulated residue from the inside of your windshield, and make sure your washer fluid reservoir is full.

Apply a fresh coat of wax to protect your paint from the harsh rays of the sun. The sun can get pretty intense in the summer months, but a good wax job can protect the finish and keep your vehicle looking like new.

Have your alignment checked. If you suspect your front end is out of alignment, have it checked and fixed right away. Problems with alignment will increase braking distance, cause your tires to wear unevenly and make emergency maneuvers even more dangerous.

Your car goes through a lot, and you want to take care of it right. Now that the winter season is finally gone, it is time to prepare your vehicle for the rigors of the warmer weather to come. The checklist above can help you get your car ready, enhancing your safety and making those summer road trips more fun. 

10 Steps to a Great Holiday Road Trip

holiday road trip

The holiday season is the perfect time for a family road trip. You probably have at least a few days off from work, and combining those days with a weekend or two could give you a great extended vacation. But before you hit the road in search of adventure (or turkey), you need to make sure your vehicle is ready to roll.

Whether you are heading off to grandma’s house, enjoying a much needed family vacation or just exploring in your own backyard, you do not want to spend your holiday on the side of the road waiting for a tow truck.

So before you pull out of the driveway, follow this 10 point checklist to make sure your ride is ready to make the trip.

1. Do a quick visual inspection. Look for obvious issues with the vehicle, like flat spots on the tires or obvious rust on the undercarriage.

2. Examine your wiper blades. Are your wiper blades in good shape, or are they worn and in need of replacement?

3. Check and top off your fluids. Take a few minutes to check the engine oil, transmission fluid, wiper fluid, brake fluid and other essential liquids under the hood. Top off any that are low.

4. Recheck your fluid levels to look for leaks. Wait a day or two, and then check your fluid levels again. If they are noticeably lower, you could have a leak.

5. Check the tread on your tires. You do not want to embark on a holiday road trip on bald tires, so check the tread and make sure your tires are safe and reliable.

6. Inflate the tires to the recommended pressure. Once you know the tread is good, check the air pressure and make sure it matches the manufacturer’s recommendations. Add air if needed, and take a tire gauge with you on your trip.

7. Lighten the load. You will need room in the trunk for luggage, holiday presents and other essentials, so remove anything you do not need. Removing unneeded items can also improve your fuel economy and make the spare tire easier to get to.

8. Check the spare tire. Speaking of the spare tire, make sure it is fully inflated and ready to go. Also make sure you have a working jack and lug wrench in the vehicle.

9. Pack a vehicle emergency kit. From road flares to tire patch kits, pack what you need in your emergency kit. You never know when those items will come in handy.

10. Top off the tank and download a gas savings app. Make sure your gas tank is full before you leave home, and download an app that points you to the lowest gas prices on the road.

If you are planning a holiday road trip, you are not alone. Millions of your fellow citizens will be hitting the road this holiday season, but there is still time to get ready. This 10 point checklist can help you make sure your vehicle is ready to hit the road, so you can enjoy the holiday season in confidence.

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