You may want to think twice before going for a summer vacation or planning a long drive in the face of the steep fuel prices and the global meltdown. But if you plan well and think ahead, there are several ways you can cut down on the money you spend on gas, from using efficient driving techniques to buying a fuel-efficient car.
Buy regular octane gas. Go through the owner's manual and check what the suggested octane level is for your car. Avoid buying premium gas if your car does not require it.
Overdrive gearing reduces the speed of your engine, which makes it run more efficiently, and in turn helps to save on gas.
Keep the air conditioning off for city drives, instead roll down the windows. Park your car in the shade or use windshield shade if you park in the sun. It will keep the car cool and you would not need to use the air conditioning when you get back in. But if you are on a highway, roll up the windows. Open windows increase the wind drag that uses up more fuel.
Avoid jack-rabbit starts. It results in faster wear and tear of the tires. It will also save you and others from the annoying noise the screeching tires make. Gently use the gas pedal to accelerate when starting from a dead stop.
Do not accelerate suddenly and avoid a hard slamming on the brakes.
Reduce unnecessarily idling. If you anticipate a long wait (more than 30 seconds), turn off the engine. Idling the car will cost you more gas than switching the engine off and back on again. In colder months, warming up does not require more than 30 seconds. This holds true especially for modern cars.
Avoid revving the engine. It can cause friction and wear and tear of the gears.
Maintaining Your Car
Regular tune-up of the engine is very important. Check the driver's manual for proper instructions and increase your gas mileage with a well-tuned engine.
Loose and missing gas caps lead to evaporation of the gas. Close the gas cap tightly to avoid wastage.
Choosing a fuel-efficient car is crucial. If you are in the market to buy a new car, choose from cars that give good mileage. If possible, buy a smaller car. They weigh less and are more fuel-efficient.
Combine errands. Plan a single trip for all your chores and preferably drive during off-peak hours. Choose a road that will have less traffic.
If you are going shopping and are not sure about the right place to buy it, do a thorough study at home before you leave. Look up the yellow pages, or run a search on the Net for the appropriate stores that offer what you need so you need not visit several stores and waste gas, which will save time and money during the commute.
Check traffic reports before you leave. It can save you substantial time and you can avoid incessant snarls and opt for roads with faster and lesser traffic.
Do not buy gas during the weekend or holidays; gas stations invariably hike the rates during holidays.
These are some things you can do to save on the ever-increasing gasoline prices. Gas bills make up a significant part of our budgets, so follow the above steps and you could not only be saving money for yourself, but also helping the planet stay clean and green by reducing carbon emissions.