Although gas prices have declined in recent months, inflation isn’t dead. In fact, history suggests that over time gas prices will continue their inexorable march upward. That’s why prudent consumers should consider ways to trim their auto fueling costs now.
Generally speaking, gas costs can be reduced by improving your car’s fuel economy, driving more efficiently, and buying less expensive fuel. The following suggestions address all three areas.
- Let your engine breathe. Replace air cleaners at regular intervals. A dirty air cleaner reduces air flow, which translates to lower fuel efficiency. Every six months isn’t too often.
- Inflate those tires. Studies have shown that properly inflated tires can increase fuel efficiency by 3% or more.
- Don’t idle. Idling the car for even a minute uses the gas equivalent of starting the engine.
- Start slowly. It’s a good idea to accelerate slowly from a dead stop. This allows the carburetor more time to function efficiently.
- Slow down. Don’t put your peddle to the metal. If you’re racing down the freeway at 75 mph, let up. Studies have shown that each 5 mph over 60 mph is like adding $0.24 per gallon to your gas cost.
- Stick to good roads. Driving on rough roads can reduce gas mileage by up to 30%.
- Lighten up. The more weight you carry, the more fuel is needed to carry your car down the road. So heft those heavy golf clubs from the trunk to the garage this winter.
- Use cruise control. This device is standard in many modern cars. Cruise control will help you maintain a constant speed, a boon to good gas mileage.
- Commute wisely. If possible, ride to work in a car pool or ride the bus. Why not save the gas and depreciation on your own vehicle?
- Combine trips. Think a little longer about possible errands you can run while traversing town to the soccer game or wheeling to the nearest megaplex for a movie.
- Research gas prices. These days you can lounge in an easy chair and surf the Internet to find the best gas prices in your area. Two web sites to consider are GasBuddy.com and GasPriceWatch.com.
One final idea: Next time you’re in the market for a car, think fuel efficiency over snazzy electronics and leather seats. Your pocketbook will be glad you did.