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Gasoline can get expensive, but most of us have to drive at some point or another. Driving around to find the cheapest gas in town is one way to cut a big chunk out of your monthly gas bill. But there are many tips and tricks that can reduce what you pay at the pump. Here are seven strategies that can help you save money on gas and reduce your environmental footprint.
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1. Service Your Vehicle Regularly
Properly maintaining your vehicle can improve its fuel economy. You’ll need to replace dirty filters as often as possible and use the right motor oil whenever you top up. Using the wrong oil could waste gas by making your engine work harder. If you aren’t sure which grade of motor oil your car needs, you can check your owner’s manual.
It’s also important to keep your tires properly inflated. Tire pressure should always remain at the level recommended by your car’s manufacturer. And you’ll need to make sure your tires are aligned. When it comes to gas mileage, a simple tune-up can go a long way.
2. Use A/C Wisely
In some cases, you can waste gas by cranking up the A/C. But it all depends on where you’re driving. If you’re driving fast because you’re on the highway, for example, having the windows open can increase drag and reduce fuel economy. So using A/C when you’re speeding down the freeway won’t prevent you from trying to save money on gas.
In most cars, the A/C turns on when you try to defrost the windshield. Using a less powerful setting is one way to avoid wasting energy.
3. Find Cheap Places to Fuel Up
Generally to find cheap gas, you’ll need to stay away from wealthier neighborhoods and check out stations in the suburbs if you’re driving through a major city. Apps like GasBuddy, AAA TripTik Mobile and Waze can help you find low gas prices in your area.
If you’re trying to spend less money on gas, waiting until your gas tank is empty and filling up a little at a time throughout the week isn’t a good idea. In fact, doing that could damage your car. It’s best to wait until you have a quarter tank of gas and fill it up all the way.
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4. Earn Rewards for Buying Gas
If you drive a lot, it may make sense for you to get a credit card that rewards you with cash back or points for buying gas. Depending on the kind of credit card you qualify for, you could earn gas rewards of up to 5%.
5. Travel Lightly
Carrying around a heavy load can add unnecessary drag. That’s why it’s a good idea to clean out your trunk and remove anything from your roof that you don’t need. By removing excess weight, you’ll be able to maximize your vehicle’s fuel economy.
6. Drive Slower
Cars often use more gas when drivers speed up. Exceeding your car’s optimal speed can reduce your gas mileage. In many cars, it’s best to drive at around 50 mph if you want to save fuel.
When you need to accelerate, it’s best to tap the gas pedal lightly. Speeding up too quickly or hitting the brakes too hard can reduce your miles per gallon.
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7. Drive More Efficiently
In addition to monitoring your speed, you can drive more efficiently by paying attention to details. For example, it’s a good idea to turn off the engine if your car has been idle for a while. Avoiding potholes and sudden stops can also make a difference when you’re trying to save money.
Using cruise control while you’re driving long distances may also help you use less gas. If you want to go the extra mile, consider buying a more fuel-efficient car. Spending a bit more on a new ride might make sense if you want better gas mileage.
Sometimes you have to get creative when you want to cut costs. By making some adjustments to the way you drive and maintain your car, you can save big bucks on gasoline.
And if you can capitalize on the best times to buy gas, you probably should. Usually, it’s best to get gas either early in the morning or late at night.
Photo credit: ©iStock.com/CasarsaGuru, ©iStock.com/Geribody, ©iStock.com/Kesu01
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