10 Tips to Fight Gas Prices and Save on Fuel

American motorists can expect to pay more on their summer road trips, Forbes.com reports.

The average cost of a gallon of regular unleaded is expected to reach $2.74, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA). That’s a 14 percent boost over last year’s seasonal average of $2.41 a gallon and would be the highest pump price recorded since summer 2015, when gas hit $2.81 a gallon.

And GasBuddy, an app that connects drivers to the most cost-effective gas stations, released their 2018 Fuel Price Outlook.

The report claims:

  • Most of the country will see prices peak under $3 per gallon, but unexpected disruptions could push the national average close to $3.
  • Metro areas including Chicago, Los Angeles, New York City, Sacramento, San Francisco, Seattle, and Washington D.C. will likely see prices eclipse $3 per gallon.
  • Cities such as Cleveland, Detroit, Miami, Minneapolis, Orlando, St. Louis and Tampa may get within arm’s reach of such prices.

Before you head out on that road trip, here’s some fuel-saving advice according to Telegraph.com.

1. Combine errands and make fewer trips

Did you know that when you drive a car that has been parked for a few hours, the engine is cold and it uses much more fuel for the first five miles or so? So, try to combine all your daily errands into one big trip.

2. Avoid rush hour and traffic jams

There are few worse places to spend your time than stuck in a traffic jam, but it’s also a very expensive way of travelling. Every time that you stop and start in traffic, your car needs first gear and a huge amount of fuel to get moving again. Second gear is not much better. The best solution is to not travel during the rush hour.

If you are stuck in traffic, try to keep a safe distance from the car in front of you, and travel steadily at a slow speed, rather than accelerating and braking. If you have to travel in rush hour, then you could consider buying a hybrid car, which uses much less fuel in town than a normal gas or diesel.

3. Stick to the speed limit

Sure, if you travel a bit faster than the speed limit, you could shave a bit of time off your journey, particularly on long highway trips, but what you save in time you pay for in extra fuel.

4. Learn to accelerate smoothly

The most efficient way to drive is smoothly and at a constant speed. So if you’re a patient driver, you’ll have lower fuel bills. Sometimes you need to speed up to pass another vehicle, but let common sense and manners be your guide. There’s little point accelerating past a car to simply be in front of it at the next set of lights as any instant gratification will appear on your fuel bill the next time you fill up.

5. Don’t push the accelerator down too far

Another factor in driving smoothly and efficiently is not pushing the accelerator down a long way to avoid changing into a lower gear—you’re actually using more fuel, not less. Obviously, if your car has an automatic gearbox, then it will probably do a better job than you of choosing which gear to be in, so it’s not a problem.

6. Turn the air-conditioning off

When it’s not necessary, turn the A/C off. It will save fuel, unless you’re at cruising speed on a highway. In that case, it’s probably more fuel efficient to keep the A/C on and windows rolled up.

7. Close the windows and sunroof on the highway.

It doesn’t matter as much when driving at lower speeds around town, but when you’re on the highway at cruising speed, the shape of your car is very important. Car designers call it aerodynamics and make lots of effort to reduce the ‘drag’ and make the car as sleek as possible. Anything that makes wind noise as your car goes along is actually making your car work harder, and thus more expensive to run. You can’t do much about the design of your car, but you can avoid making it worse by not leaving the windows and sunroof open. It’s better to use the air vents for most of the year, and the air-conditioning when it gets too hot.

8. Check your tire pressures regularly

This is a big one: the lower the tire pressure, the more fuel the car needs to move it down the road. We recommend that you take five minutes every two weeks or so to check the air pressure in your tires. Buy a tire gauge at a gas station or auto parts store, and go to a gas station with an air machine. Check the proper PSI (pounds per square inch) on the sidewall of your tires, and fill the tire with air if needed.

9. Remove the roof rack or ski box

This is just like leaving the windows open, but worse. Even if the roof rack is empty, it increases drag and makes your car use more fuel, while a big ski box is like having another car strapped to your roof. The latest roof racks and ski boxes are quick and easy to fit and remove, so make the effort to stow them away when not using them.

10. Don’t carry unnecessary weight

Just like your body, your car needs more fuel to move around more weight. So, just as you wouldn’t wear a heavy backpack unless you had to, don’t haul heavy stuff around in the trunk of your car unless you need it. Ironically, the heavier the item (the usual culprits are golf clubs and tools), the less likely you are to bother taking it out and the greater the effect it will have on your fuel consumption.

Sources: Forbes.com, GasBuddy, Telegraph.com

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