Gas prices are soaring! This has resulted in elevated travel expenses. If you travel by car, YOU have some control over the costs.
Here are some ways to save money on gas:
- Switch to synthetic motor oil. It reduces engine friction and may make your car a little less ravenous at the gas station. (There are brands available claiming 5%-20% increases in fuel economy.)
- Use the manufacturer's recommended grade of oil. Manufacturer specs are based on what is best for your specific vehicle.
- Buy gas with the recommended octane rating. Premium can actually be detrimental to many engines.
- Fill up during the coolest times of day. You get more gas in each gallon, because liquids expand in the heat. The pumps are measuring gallons, not weight.
- Make sure that the gas cap is tight after you fill up. Gas evaporates easily - you can lose an appreciable amount through an improperly seated cap.
- Check your tires before your holiday and inflate them to the manufacturer's recommendations. Underinflated tires create drag and increase gas consumption. Always carry a tire gauge in your glove compartment.
- Never drive on bald tires! Besides being unsafe, they also increase fuel consumption.
- Don't leave your engine idling for long periods of time. This includes pre-warming - one minute is all you need. Start off slowly, then use normal speeds after a couple of minutes.
- Don't continually start and stop your engine. Each start burns about the same amount of gas as one minute of idle time.
- Drive the speed limit on highways - speeding devours gas. Activate your cruise control whenever possible, and when cruise is not engaged remember the 'egg' trick: drive like you have a raw egg between the floorboards and the gas pedal.
- Stop lights in cities are usually set to synchronize with the posted speed limit. Drive the speed limit and you are more likely to hit a long series of green lights. Stopping at red lights increases idle time and gas consumption.
- Drive in a way that entails minimal use of the brakes.
- Don't pack more than you need. The more weight you carry, the more gas you use.
- Decrease wind resistance. A car caked with mud, snow, or ice will cause drag and burn more gas than a sleek, clean vehicle.
- Don't use the air conditioner unless necessary. Vehicle air conditioners increase fuel consumption.
- Pamper your vehicle by ensuring that it goes in for regular tune-ups and maintenance. Slight adjustments can mean dramatic fuel savings. Ask the maintenance people to add fuel injector cleaner whenever the oil is changed.
- Some communities have websites that post fuel prices at local gas stations. Do your research before you leave to find out where the cheapest stations are. Use common sense: driving too far out of your way will gobble up more gas than you save. Try gasbuddy.com (USA and Canada) and your favorite search engines.
- If you own a gas guzzler, try trading with a relative or neighbor for a smaller vehicle while you vacation. (Make sure that insurance policies on both vehicles are in order first.)
- Use your feet! Once you get to your destination, walk whenever possible. Walking is how you really get to know an area.
Save money, save the environment - and have more cash to spend on your vacation!