This ” 10 Easy Ways On How To Reduce Gas Expense ” post details ways that consumers can adopt to reduce their cars' fuel consumption.
Gas prices have been in a roller coaster ride these past few months. One thing is sure for though, that is, gas prices have been so low that a lot of people have been saving money from not spending too much on gas. Who doesn’t like saving money? I know I would love to save money even when it’s only a couple of cents.
I looked in my book and looked through all my receipts (yes, I keep all my receipts just in case I need them) and found that I saved $100 in 4 months. That’s a lot of money. I wish the gas prices will remain low but I know it’s not going to happen.
Just the other day, a friend of mine asked me how I am able to spend only $30 a month on gas when I drive miles and miles every day to and from work. I gave him a run down on all the things I do to keep my gas expense as low as possible.
You may wonder if you can really save more money than what you are saving right now? When you think you can’t lessen your gas expense anymore, you should think again. I’m not talking about turning off your A/C and rolling down your window (I know it’s not going to happen to me during summer).
How To Reduce Gas Expense
Here are some of the clever and basic but overlooked tips and tricks on how to reduce your gas expense.
1. Maintain your car
Of course, the first on the list is to always maintain your car as a way to reduce gas expense. Before, I did not really care about taking care of my car. I thought that as long as I put a full tank of gas in it, then, everything would be fine.
It’s a good thing that my friend who happens to be an engineer told me that what I was doing was a good way to break my car easily. He added that what I was doing resulted in a lot of gas consumption. Since I didn’t anything know about cars back then, I followed his advice, started maintaining my car, and started seeing my gas expense go down.
When I decided to start taking care of my car, I researched some basic ways that I can do on my own and that can save me gas money at the same time. I am not a mechanic and don’t want to touch anything in the car that can be dangerous to the car, to me, and to my family. Luckily, there were a couple of simple steps that novice people like me can easily do.
According to the Fueleconomy.gov, you can improve your car’s gas mileage by up to 3.3% just by keeping the tires inflated to their proper pressure. Keeping the tires under-inflated lowers the gas mileage by 0.3% per 1 psi drop in tire pressure.
In addition to keeping tires properly inflated, simple maintenance like regular oil change and spark plug replacements can lessen your car’s gas consumption. Here are some of the other car maintenance activities that can reduce fuel consumption according to Fueleconomy.gov:
- Properly tuning car engine. Fixing car engine can improve gas mileage by 4% (average)
- Using recommended motor oil grade. Using the right motor oil grade can improve gas mileage by 1% to 2%
2. Keep track of fuel economy
Just in case your vehicle’s fuel economy drops, you may want to have your engine checked. This drop can be a sign of your engine’s trouble. It may be in your best interest to keep track of your car’s fuel economy by notating the number of gallons purchased each time you have your gas fill up and the odometer reading.
If you fill up your gas tank once a month and suddenly you find yourself filling up the tank every two weeks, then, this may be a sign that there’s a problem in your engine. You may want to have it checked as soon as possible before your engine gets worse. It’s better to be more on the precautionary side. You will not only reduce gas expense of yours but will also avoid fixing your engine, which really costs more.
3. Don’t make your car your apartment
If you have a tendency to keep a lot of things in your car, you may want to take them out because these things can increase your gas consumption. The key lesson here is to not carry items that you don’t need. For every 100 pounds you have in your car, fuel economy will decrease by 1 or 2 percent.
If you are notorious in putting bulky items on a roof rack, you may consider putting those items inside your car or in the trunk because this will reduce drag. This translates to less gas consumption.
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4. Use your smartphone
So you have your own smartphone to reduce gas expense. You pay a lot for it every month. You might as well use it to your advantage. There are apps out that can help you find the gas station(s) with the best gas prices. Use these following apps to search for the best gas prices in your area:
- Gas Buddy. Launched in 2004, Gas Buddy relies on its users to obtain updates. It allows the users to search by distance or price and to see the map where the gas stations are and how far they are from your location.
- YP Yellow Pages and Gas Prices. With YP app, you can easily browse and find the best gas options near you. In a single tap on the YP’s “Gas Prices” icon, you can see a visual display of the good and best gas stations based on price. The app goes further by showing you the gas prices for regular, plus, or premium gas.
5. Use a gas reward card or gas card
If you like to fill up your gas in the same gas station, you may consider getting a gas reward card as your way to reduce gas expense. Remember that this reward card is different than a gas card. Gas cards are credit cards and reward cards are not. Depending on the ongoing promotion, reward cards can give you couple of cents off per gallon.
Some grocery stores have reward cards that are tied to specific gas stations. You can get discounts per gallon by buying specific products or when you have reached a certain amount. Two weeks ago, I had a discount of $0.25 a gallon. When I filled up my car, the gas price was around $1.65 per gallon. So, I basically paid $1.40 per gallon, which totaled to $19.60 for 14 gallons. That $19.60 should be good for a month.
You may also consider opening a credit card that will reward you for purchasing gas. Depending on the credit card, you may earn points or cash that you can redeem for cash, statement credit, gas card, or donation. Remember that credit cards should be used responsibly. If you want to see if these cards make sense to you, visit NerdWallet.com to get the credit cards that best fit your needs.
6. Buy discounted gift cards
There are discounted gas gift cards that you can buy online. Some of the well-known sites that sell cards at a discount include Raise and Gift Card Granny. They sell cards for gas stations that include, but are not limited to, Shell, Exxon Mobil, and others. Some cards have discounts up to 5%. If you ever buy a $100 card, you’ll be looking at paying $95. Though it may be a small amount, you can see the savings stack if you continue buying these discounted cards.
For the past year, I have been buying and using gift cards that I bought online. I have to tell you that I saved around $30 in the past year. It’s not a lot when but it’s still $30 to my pocket.
7. Don’t drive like a crazy person
Just because you’ve followed the first six steps doesn’t mean that you’ll save money consistently. Of course, you also need to drive like a sane person. Don’t go over 10 to 15 miles over the speed limit. If you do this, your fuel economy will decrease substantially. Going on a 65 mph instead of 75 can cut fuel consumption up to 20 percent.
This doesn’t mean that you need to go under the speed limit to save money. Remember that safety should always come first before savings. If you are on a highway with 70 as the speed limit, don’t drive at 65 mph because you may cause accident. Just drive within the speed limit.
8. Park in a shade
Remember that gas is liquid and can and will evaporate. When you park, try to park where your car is under a shade. This shade will keep your car cooler when its summer and will minimize the evaporation of gas. This will also prevent you from blasting your A/C when you get in your car, which can also consume extra fuel.
9. Find alternative way of transportation
If you find yourself constantly using your car everywhere you go even when you’re just going to a place that’s one mile away from your house, try to find other alternatives to driving. You may consider walking and using your bike, which are great ways to get your daily fix of exercise and reduce gas expense. When you go to work, try carpooling or use public transportation.
When you do your grocery shopping every week, you may want to consider doing it once every two weeks. If you live far from your house, you may want to consider moving closer, provided it will be more economical and practical for you do such thing.
Also remember that finding other alternatives to driving such as biking, walking, carpooling, and using public transportation can reduce the environmental impacts of driving.
10. Fill up more efficiently
When trying to reduce gas expense, we always assume that it’s always better to fill up the gas tank full. Sometimes, filling your gas tank only halfway can help increase gas mileage slightly. By filling up halfway, you are putting less weight in your car, which will decrease gas consumption slightly. But of course, if you live or work far away from a gas station, it’s always best to fill up your tank full to avoid making two or more trips.
In addition, when you are filling your gas tank, never tap the gas tank to add more fuel when the gas is already filled. According to the environmental experts, this practice has negative effects on your pocketbook, vehicle, and the environment. According to them, by tapping your gas tank off, it can overwhelm your car’s evaporative system or cause a leak by the excess pressure in the system.
When you think you can’t save more money, just remember that there are ways (basic or advanced) that can save you more even for a few dollars. You may be tempted to not look into the other ways of reducing gas expense because gas prices have been low these past couple of months, but you will thank yourself because your savings in gas will add up in time. Just remember that if you ever follow these tips and tricks on how to reduce gas expense, they will become second nature to you sooner or later.
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