How to Save on Gas This Summer

save-on-gasIf you live in Bushyhead, SC, you may think that paying an average of $2.70 for a gallon of gas is a lot. But if you live in New York City or Los Angeles, you’re likely spending well over $3 per gallon each time you fill up. And depending on how much you drive, these expenses can really add up. Luckily, there are ways to save on gas by altering your driving habits. Although driving may be second-nature to you, taking a few minutes to concentrate on your driving can truly save on your gas expenses in the long run. Here are some easy ways to get started:

  1. Brake less. Starting and stopping frequently is one of the biggest ways to waste gas unintentionally. Instead of breaking quickly when traffic slows, try to anticipate traffic patterns, lights and curves in the road so that you can gradually decelerate without stepping roughly on the brake. A bit of forethought can increase your gas mileage by 10-20%. And yes, this principle applies to hybrid cars as well.
  2. Accelerate slowly. Speeding up quickly causes a rush of gas to flow from the tank, which needlessly wastes gas.
  3. Use the air-conditioner cautiously. Studies show that driving with the windows open at high speeds can add about 10% to the drag on your car so that it decreases the gas mileage. But of course, air conditioning is powered by gas, so it can be argued that using the air conditioning will drain your gas tank as well. What’s the solution? Use your air conditioner when you’re driving on the highway, and keep your windows open while you drive on city streets. You’ll be cool at all times and maximize your fuel efficiency.
  4. Park in the shade. It may sound silly it’s true – parking in the shade can help save on gas by keeping your car cool, which means that you’ll need to use the air conditioner less to cool the car down.
  5. Empty your car. Driving around with extra (i.e., heavy) things in your car will weigh the car down and require more gas to speed it up. You can easily save money on gas by taking out tools, strollers, suitcases and other things that you don’t need in your car at all times.
  6. Drive slowly. I’m sorry to say it, but it needs to be said…driving at a steady speed of around 55mph is about 21% more fuel-efficient than driving at 65mph.
  7. Drive on paved roads whenever possible. I just learned that driving on bumpy or gravelly roads can reduce fuel efficiency by up to 30%. I guess next time I want to visit Aunt Martha at her country home, I’ll think twice about driving up that gravel road. I suggest you do the same.
  8. Check your air filters regularly. Much like emptying the filter of the clothes dryer can save on electricity, checking the air filter of your car can save on fuel. The reasoning is simple – increased air flow increases fuel efficiency.
  9. Don’t overfill your gas tank. Although you may have a strong urge to ‘top off’ your tank, doing so will most likely waste gas instead of adding more, as some of the gas may splash out.
  10. Carpool or take public transportation. I’ve said it before, but it merits repeating: the easiest way to save on gas is to drive less, a goal which can be achieved by carpooling or taking public transportation. Even if you don’t know anyone traveling in your direction, it couldn’t hurt to post an advertisement on your local community list or bulletin board to see if you can put together a group. You never know who you’ll meet and how much money you can save!

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