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Top 10 Ways To Save Money On Gas Photo – © designsoliman – Fotolia.com
The age of the electric car may soon truly be upon us, judging by the awesome new models appearing from Tesla Motors. Of course, this makes us at Off-Grid very excited – because there is then the possibility to generate your own electricity to power not only your own house, but your own car also! This would be a great step forward. An electric car would be great – but for most people, it’s not quite affordable or practical yet. And in the meantime, most people use “ordinary” gasoline-power to get around…
We could all do with saving a few dollars wherever we can. So we’ve done some research and come up with a compilation of ideas for saving money on gas:
#1 Plan your trips. Consolidate your errands into one trip and try to “feed two birds with one scone” whenever possible. Good time management and allowing a few more minutes for trips means safer driving, too. Instead of going to the store every day or so to buy groceries, try to make a more thorough list and go once a week if you can. Bulk buying of non-perishable items can save you further money too! Use the shortest routes for your journeys. Avoid peak traffic periods if possible – sitting in traffic and constant speeding up / slowing down uses more gas. And dig out that bicycle when you can – you know it’s good for you.
#2 Don’t carry excess baggage. The more junk you are carrying around in the car, the more you are spending on gas. Leave it at home! It’s said that removing 100 pounds of weight of items from a car will save $25 per year. Obviously, leave essential tools and roadside emergency kit in the car, plus your essential paperwork and stuff like that….
#3 At the Gas Station: Use the lowest grade of fuel that’s right for your car. You can check the manual to ascertain this – but as long as the engine is not “knocking” – you should be fine and might be able to save several hundred dollars annually! Make sure your gas cap fits tightly and get a new one if it doesn’t. Buy gas early in the morning when it is cooler – gas is more dense then and you’ll get a little more for your money. Another tip – fill up more gently – on the “first click” setting. That way there’ll be less vapor – which gets recovered by the pump anyway. And resist the temptation to “top off” the tank. Bad idea.
#4 Don’t floor it! Ok, I’m guilty too. Accelerate more gently. “Booting it” away from the lights may feel like fun – but you are using so much more gas than if you accelerate with the pedal 1/4 of the way down. Also, take your foot off the gas a little sooner and coast further before coming to junctions, red lights and stop signs. You might as well, especially if there is stopped traffic which you are going to have to wait for anyway.
#5 Drive a little slower on the freeway! You can get up to 20% better mileage at 55 than at 70! Not to mention saving on speeding tickets.
#6 Don’t tailgate. As well as being way safer, driving further back means less “brake dabbing”. Every time you brake, you have to use more gas getting back up to speed. Driving at a more consistent speed is more fuel efficient; also it helps other drivers to do the same, and lowers overall “freeway stress”.
#7 Decrease drag. Remove luggage racks if you are not using them. Keep windows and sunroof closed – especially at higher speeds – because open windows cause greater wind resistance and can decrease gas mileage by up to 10%!! If you have a pick-up truck with a tailgate, you may be able to buy a “cage” tailgate and drive with the tailgate down – although benefits of this are disputed.
#8 Keep tires inflated to the correct pressure and have them checked for alignment. Did you know that just in America alone, it is estimated that a total of over $10 million is wasted in gas per day due to incorrect tire pressure. You’ll save money on tires this way too – plus it improves handling and makes the car safer. A good tip is to get a digital tire gauge and keep it in the car. Check tire pressures when tires are cold i.e. before starting a journey, not during. Also have brakes checked to make sure they are not dragging.
#9 Engine maintenance. Regular tune-ups and oil changes will help with fuel economy. Make sure you are using the right grade of engine oil – check your owner’s manual. Also, make sure those air filters get changed out on time – a clogged air filter can decrease mileage by up to 10%.
#10 Turn down that Air Conditioning!
It can increase gas consumption by 10-20%. If it’s really hot and you are using the AC, you can “punch out” the AC button and will still get cold air in the car for a while – so try and “cycle” the AC to limit your use. Also – a beaded seat cover will keep you a little cooler. Another tip – get a window shade or reflector to keep some of the sun out when parked – that way you won’t need to crank the AC up quite so high when you get into the car on a hot day! One more: Park under a shady tree when possible.
Any more tips for ways to save money on gas? Let us know in the comments or on our Facebook page! 🙂
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