It’s no secret that fuel is expensive. You’re probably spending a fortune on gas compared to the rest of your living expenses. It’s also no secret that gasoline price hikes seem to occur far more often than price rollbacks – and getting stuck in heavy traffic for hours on end can make it seem like there’s no relief in sight.
The good news is you’re not the only one who feels this way – so don’t give up just yet. In fact, you can get on top of the situation if you start being a little bit smarter about your driving habits. With that in mind, here are 12 behaviors that actually lower your gasoline bill:
Be a mindful driver
Did you know that changing speed every few seconds increases fuel consumption by 20%, and that driving at 60 miles per hour saves you roughly 20% more fuel than driving at 70 miles per hour? It’s true. Here’s another tip: Research shows that abrupt starts and hard braking may reduce your travel time, but it also increases your fuel consumption by a whopping 39%, so keep your distance to avoid a sudden reaction to the vehicle in front of you.
Take turns driving with co-workers who have similar schedules or live near you. You may also organize a carpool with family, neighbors, or friends who share routes with you. The less time you spend driving, the less gas consumed, and ultimately, you save money on gas.
Keep your vehicle in shape
Remember that a poorly maintained car uses more fuel than a well-maintained car. Keeping up with regular maintenance with your car dealership proves to be a cheaper alternative than skimping on it. Ignoring car issues to save money will only backfire as a bigger expense to deal with. It also helps to have a trusted mechanic who can check the brake system or any abnormalities in the parts and functions of your vehicle regularly. An anomaly in the break resistance, for example, increases fuel consumption.
Know when to use the AC
Using your car’s air conditioner consumes 20% more fuel. Ideally, it would be best to keep the windows down while on city streets, then use the air conditioning when you are on the highway. Each car has a particular speed at which rolled-down windows cause more fuel consumption than air conditioners.
Join a loyalty program
Gas station and convenience store franchises offer rewards programs for loyal customers. The next time a gas station crew offers you something like this, it is best to take the offer. Learn the details and take advantage of the benefits available to you.
You get better gas mileage when you keep your car light. Meaning, the less stuff weighing down your car, the lesser fuel it uses. Leave only the things you need in your vehicle. Bike racks, sports equipment, documents, and the likes can be removed and placed in the car only when needed.
There are premium, ultra, super, super-plus, and supreme gasoline variants that most motorists are urged by advertising to pay more. In most cases, regular fuel is good enough for your car not because it is cheaper but because the formulation is not inferior to the expensive variants.
Maintain tire air pressure
To determine the recommended air pressure for your tires, check your car owner’s manual or the sticker either in the driver’s side door jamb or the glove box. Driving with the wrong tire pressure lessens your gas mileage.
Lessen idle time
Don’t start the car, and then leave it running for more than 90 seconds. Note that an idle engine for 10 seconds or more burns more gas than it takes to start it. An idle engine also wastes gas and causes more air pollution.
If you got a lot of errands, plan an efficient route to do them all on the same day rather than making different trips for each of them. Avoid rush hour whenever possible. Doing this effectively reduces drive time and gas expenses.
Avoid weekend fill-ups
Gas prices tend to be more expensive on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays. It is wiser to gas up early on the week, particularly on Mondays and Tuesdays. Gas prices vary widely within a few kilometers or on a day-to-day basis. It is wise to find the best gas station and refuel at the right time.
Use alternative transportation
Walking or biking burns calories but not gasoline, and it is a healthier option that doesn’t cost anything. If you’re going somewhere that can easily be reached on foot, then consider walking as an option.
The Bottom Line
As you practice mindfulness as a driver, you rely on your common sense. How you behave behind the wheel and make sensible choices as a driver directly affects how much you spend on gas and how much money you save. Thus if saving on gas is your goal, be a smart driver.
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