In our continuing effort to bring our readers the most up to date tips on saving money at the gas pumps we’ve put together a new blog with some more tips, advice and ideas that are sure to help reduce the sting of filling up your car’s gas tank. Since gas prices seems to be going up every five minutes we figured that instead of the usual fun banter we get right into it. Enjoy.
Most experts will tell you that it pays to accelerate at a moderate rate of speed. Most math teachers will also remind you that the basic law of physics, that force = mass X acceleration, will work in your favor if you do a little bit of offensive driving and lay off of the brakes. (And by offensive we don’t mean that you use your horn constantly or give people ‘the finger’.) Simply put, if you use your car’s acceleration to bring you to a traffic light rather than usual breaks and then accelerate and then use your breaks and then accelerate again, etc. etc., you will definitely save gas.
The reason is that you won’t lose your acceleration and waste it on the friction that your breaks cause. Indeed you can easily get 10 to 20% better gas mileage by keeping your foot off of the gas pedal and letting your car’s momentum carry you to a stop sign, stoplight or whatever. Keep in mind that by the time you actually reach the point of having to stop, if you’ve done it correctly, you should not have to jam on the brakes.
Some hybrid car owners may disagree with this as hybrids have the interesting ability to be able to convert braking power into electrical energy and then store that energy in their batteries. While this is certainly true, if you need to decelerate to fast you will still lose a ton of energy and will have to use even more to power yourself to the point of eventually having to stop.
You’ve probably heard about not using your air conditioner to save money on gas and, while this might be true in some cases, if you live in Arizona, Nevada or other areas of the country where the heat can be oppressive it just doesn’t make sense to turn the AC off, especially during the middle of the day. What you can do however is park your car in the shade, in your garage or in a parking garage during the day if possible. Also, when you first get moving, open the windows for a few minutes and get the hot air out of your car so that the a/c doesn’t have to work as hard or as long to cool the interior down. One last thing that you can do is turn you’re a/c off 5 to 10 minutes before you arrive at your destination to save a little bit more.
If you do a lot of highway driving one of the best ways to increase your mileage is to draft behind a larger car, truck or bus. This takes a bit of skill and definitely all of your attention but it is one of the best ways to increase your mpg on the highway because it cuts down on wind resistance greatly. One caveat; don’t tailgate in order to do this because that’s not only rude but dangerous. If you own a pickup truck and it doesn’t have a cab you might consider putting the tailgate down as well to cut down on drag.
If it’s not brutally hot or cold out you may find the temptation to open the windows, especially around town, a big one. We suggest that you don’t only because the extra turbulence can cost you fuel. Better to use your car’s ventilation system instead and save gas.
Many people are still in the habit of changing their cars oil every 3000 miles. While this certainly isn’t bad for the car the fact is that most oils and most cars will be just fine up to 5000 miles. While it might not affect your MPG greatly it certainly will cost you less and oil changes over the life of your car.
Are you going to be renting a car while you’re away on vacation or a business trip? If so, and you are not going to be taking other people or trying to impress anyone (and it’s possible you may) we would suggest that you rent a smaller, economy car then a bigger, more luxurious but more wallet damaging gas guzzler. The fact is, you could save enough money on gas by using a smaller car on vacation that you might be able to upgrade your hotel room or afford a couple of extra fancy meals.
One last tip that we have is one of the best; don’t fill up at any gas station near the highway. Usually that’s where the gas prices are the highest. Find one in town or, if you’re on the highway, drive a few miles away to find a cheaper price. The smartphone app ‘GasBuddy’ can help you locate the best price around.