I went to fill up our van yesterday and about cried. $3.29/gallon!
After living in Israel for many years and paying truly exorbitant sums for gas (I think we were paying the equivalent of $9/gallon to gas up our diesel-guzzling Kia van back in 2008), I feel it’s a bit disingenuous for me to even complain about the rising prices.
After bumping up our monthly gas budget by $40, I turned to Swagbucks for more ways to increase our fuel efficiency. Here are six tips I’m going to try to cut our gas bill.
1. Keep the tires properly inflated.
This tip was at the top of every “how to save money at the pump” list I read. Check your owner’s manual to know your tires proper pressure level, then top them off at the gas station. In addition to making sure your tires aren’t under-inflated, it’s also important to check alignment and balance. I’m putting all three of these things on my to-do list!
2. Clean out the car
I’m fond of saying to my kids, “My car is not your closet. It’s also not your garbage can.” And yet, the floor of our van is covered in … garbage and clothes. Ugh.
Aside from being gross, all that extra junk we’re schlepping around could actually be wasting us money. According to Bankrate.com, for every extra 250 pounds you schlep around, you lose about one mile per gallon in fuel efficiency. If that’s not motivation for cleaning out the car, I don’t know what is.
3. Don’t top off your tank.
This was a good one, that really surprised me. Apparently that extra bit of gas just sloshes off. It’s only a few cents, but why throw it away?
4. Drive the speed limit. Or slower.
Every time you put the “pedal to the metal”, you are burning a hole in your gas efficiency. Again, according to Bankrate.com, driving 55 MPH vs. 65 MPH can save you two miles per gallon in fuel efficiency. Time to slow down.
5. Plan your route and combine trips.
It’s only a five minute trip to Target, but if I’m just picking up a prescription, that’s an awful lot of fuel being burned for $10 worth of medication.
Instead of making quick “one-off” trips, I’m trying to work in my errands when I’m out anyway dropping off or picking up kids. Life in the suburbs actually makes this pretty easy, since most of the big box stores are all within a one-mile radius of each anyway.
6. Use the a/c judiciously.
It’s not air conditioning weather yet – not even close! – but this is going to be tough one for me. Using the a/c can reduce your fuel efficiency by as much as 20% (!), so I am planning to use some of these work-arounds to fight my cool air habit:
- Park in shady spots, so the car doesn’t require a full and prolonged blast of arctic air when you are out running your (consolidated) errands
- Invest in a sun-shade – ditto above
- Park overnight in a covered spot, if possible, so the car can be fully cooled before you start out on your morning commute – you might even find you don’t need to turn on the a/c at all (at least not first thing in the morning)
- In city driving, roll down the windows – I’m terrible about turning on the air the second it’s ever so slightly warm in the car, but just cracking a window can give the same relief (unless it’s really beastly outside, in which case, ignore that advice).
- On highway drives, roll up the window and turn ON the air conditioning – Having the windows down during highway driving can actually increase air resistance, which decreases fuel efficiency.
How much is gas where you live? Are you doing anything different to try to conserve gas – and save money at the pump?