Dear Enthusiastic Driver,
As a family of two, with a car of one, my wife and I have been continually discussing the best ways to try and pinch pennies in our budget and avoid filling up our ’96 Toyota Camry as often as we do. With the current gas prices, we are spending $50-$60 each fill-up to move about our world. So we decided to end our debate and do research on some of the best ways to save money on gas while on the road. A previous post asked for your input on gas saving tips, so here are six of the best ways to change your driving habits so that you fill up less often.
1. Save on gas by combining your trips or errands into one. Plan out your day so that you avoid having to backtrack and/or drive extra miles that aren’t needed. Check out Mapquest to plan the quickest routes.
2. Instead of startling the driver in front of you, fearing you might rear end their bumper, coast up to traffic jams by lifting your foot off the gas pedal. According to Financial Plan, it takes more gas to accelerate to normal speed from a full stop than it does from four or five miles per hour.
3. Make sure your tires are properly inflated. Uninflated tires can cause all types of problems, not to mention reducing gas mileage. According to Fuel Economy, inflating tires to their proper pressure can improve mileage by about 3.3 percent, whereas leaving them under-inflated can lower mileage by 0.4 percent for every one PSI drop in pressure of all four tires.
4. Reduce extra baggage. I realized yesterday, in the middle of July, that I still had my snow chains left from this past Christmas in the trunk of my Toyota Camry. Removing extra luggage in your trunk and emptying your roof rack can significantly reduce mileage.
5. Avoid idling for long periods. Listen to the radio for traffic reports and avoid stop and go traffic or leaving your car running for long periods of time. If you’re burning gas, but not going anywhere, you’re getting 0 mpg.
6. The hardest of the six, requiring a true commitment to saving on gas mileage, is to drive smooth and at a moderate speed. CR estimated that mileage dropped from 40 mpg to 35 mpg when they increased cruising speed from 55 mph to 65 mph. Speeding up to 75 mph dropped mileage another 5 mpg. As difficult as it is to drive slower when you’re rushing from a summer baseball game to a evening BBQ, a commitment to saving gas while driving includes a commitment to driving at a consistent pace and at a pace that is moderate to get the most out of your gas. Once you are up to a steady speed, try to maintain the same pace and avoid breaking and swerving around slower cars.
These tips can hopefully save each of us a few trips to the gas station and save you money in the long run. Chart your progress and see if these tips help. Feel free to add additional tips or comments in our comment section.