Pump Blues: How to Save Money on Gas

Gas PumpGas prices seem to be in a state of constant flux, but as we’re all painfully aware, the total seems to be higher with every fill. You may be left scratching your head at the price to fill up your tank, wondering how to budget for this necessary evil. Luckily, there are a few easy ways to save money on gasoline.

  • Avoid idling. Time spent idling is still time spent using fuel. Stop-and-go driving can quickly eat away at your gas without getting you very far. When driving, find as many safe ways as possible to turn off your car (at a stoplight, in the drive-through lane, etc.)
  • Avoid rush hour traffic. This goes along with idling. The high amount of vehicles inching along on the highway will cause you to stop-and-start. Not only will this put you in a bad mood, it’s bad for your car and your gas expenses! If you can leave a little earlier from home or a little later from work to beat the rush, it can make a huge difference on your gas bill. It may also be worth it to experiment with alternative routes. Even if a back road takes you a bit farther out of your way, you may still get to your destination faster when you skip the daily traffic jam. 
  • Learn how to coast. Slamming on your breaks at the last possible minute uses fuel, but coasting does not actually engage the gas in your car. So, when you’re approaching a stop light or stop sign, plan accordingly: coast as much as possible to slow down before you apply the brakes. You can let your car coast for a short while before accelerating to saves gas, as well.
  • Don’t drive aggressively. The more you ride that bumper ahead of you, the more likely you’ll have to slam on your breaks or abruptly stop (or worse, rear end someone!). Harsh starts and stops eat up substantially more fuel than smooth acceleration. So give yourself some extra time, and give the driver in front of you some extra space, for the sake of your wallet and your safety.
  • Keep an eye on your fuel levels. Don’t wait until you’re running on fumes to fill up. As a good rule of thumb, once your gas tank is only one-quarter of the way full, stop and get some gas. Or, if you don’t mind stopping more often for gas, try to fill up whenever prices are low (or fit within your budget). Remember: there’s never a bad time to have a full tank of gas. Better safe than sorry!

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