The cost of fuel is in constant fluctuation, making our budgets have to adjust every other weekend. Since we cannot control the price of gas, our one choice is to limit how much fuel we use. In this guide, we will give you some tips and tricks to save money while fueling up.
This guide will come to us in two parts: saving at the pump and saving while driving. Both sides will help you save money when buying gas or using it.
How To Save Money On Fuel Before Driving
- Set a fuel budget
- Purchase a car with better fuel efficiency
- Check your tire pressure
- Check your gas cap
- Remove weight from your car
- Perform regular maintenance on your car
- Avoid premium fuel (unless otherwise specified)
- Use Google to find the cheapest options
- Join a gas station membership
- Use cashback credit cards
Setting A Fuel Budget
Setting and maintaining a budget for fuel allows you to control your consumption. While you may have to tweak it a couple of times at first, those tweaks will let you get a better understanding of how much you spend on gas.
It will also set you up for success when taking advantage of other methods to save fuel. You will feel a noticeable difference.
Purchase A Car With Better Fuel Efficiency
If your ultimate goal is to save money in the long term, buying a new car may not seem like a step in the right direction. However, many old trucks or larger vehicles from the late 90s to the early 2000s use up a good chunk of fuel.
If we consider how long we have to keep a vehicle potentially, we can feel our vehicle purchases in very long terms. While your MPG may only have a difference of 10 on paper, compare that over 200 thousand miles.
You can also consider purchasing an electric car. If you do, be sure that your environment supports electric vehicles. If you move, you may not have support for your recently purchased Nissan Leaf or Tesla.
Check Your Tire Pressure
If your tire pressure is low, your vehicle will have to work harder to move it. If your car has to work harder, that means that it is going through more gas.
If your tire pressure light is one, seek out an air station as soon as you can. If it changed due to significant fluctuation in temperature, you might give it some time to respond.
If your car does not have a tire pressure sensor light, the video below can help you with checking pressure and inflating tires.
Check Your Gas Cap
A loose gas cap can cause your gas to evaporate from out of your tank. If someone has tried to steal your gas and left a broken lid, this is something that could potentially happen to you.
You are more likely to run into this issue as your car gets older. Gas cap seals are known to wear out over a long period. Try not to wait on this repair, as you could be losing a good deal of money from it.
Remove Weight From Your Car
An extra 100 pounds in your vehicle can potentially reduce your MPG by 1%. Apply this logic to a large truck. You can see your MPG dropping pretty significantly as you are hauling unnecessary items.
The more your car hauls, the harder it has to work to push itself forward. For your wallet’s sake, remove any excess weight from your vehicle if it is excessive.
Also, it isn’t good if you keep objects on your roof. Not only will you have an unnecessary weight up there, but the additional mass will cause your car to have to fight against the air. Poor aerodynamics result in low fuel economy.
Perform Regular Maintenance
Regular maintenance and checks on your car will prevent you from having to perform expensive repairs later. When applying that logic to fuel economy, your vehicle can use more fuel is there is something inside of it that is not functioning correctly.
As we have said a couple of times, the harder your car has to work, the more gas it will use. Because of this, there are many reasons for you to want to perform checks on your vehicle regularly.
Avoid Premium Fuel (If Possible)
If you can, avoid purchasing premium fuel. While someone may have convinced you that high-grade fuel improves the gas mileage in your car, that is typically not the case in vehicles that do not demand the gas.
Premium fuels are typically just a major cash suck. When you purchase a vehicle, be sure to check what kind of energy it uses. If it is a premium level fuel, you may consider a different type of car. Especially if cost-savings are a high priority for you.
Use Google To Shop Around
Google Maps is a powerful tool that is commonly for finding your way around an unfamiliar area. As it is updated, you could place stop points along the way. These stop points include gas stations.
Through Google Maps, you can search around the local area to find the cheapest gas of the day. Just be aware of the type of gas they offer, as you don’t want to ruin your car.
Also, some people will go to the farthest lengths to find a cheap gas station. If you do this, it eliminates the purpose of saving gas and money, as you might end up spending more money to get there.
Join A Gas Station Loyalty Program
Gas station loyalty programs are available at almost any gas station. With their loyalty programs, you can typically get three cents off per gallon. It may not sound like much, but it does add up.
If you live in the right location, Sam’s Club tends to have incredibly good deals on gas. However, many Sam’s Club members have to drive far out of their comfort zone to find this gas station.
If you join a loyalty program, be sure that they consistently have the least expensive gas In town. Otherwise, it will eliminate the purpose of joining this program.
Use Cashback Credit Cards
When all else fails in the cost to spend less on fuel, you rely on credit cards to return the price of gas to you. Many of them have specific deals with gas stations or return money to you based on what you spend.
There is a lot that can go into this one, as different cards have different APRs and temporary deals. Be sure that you fully understand the terms and conditions before deciding upon a gas card.
If your cashback card tends to come with annual fees, the amount you save on gas may not be worth it. Try and focus on cars that are free to use with a limited APR. If you pay off your balance quickly, you will not have to run into any interest fees.
How To Save Fuel While Driving
- Accelerate slowly
- Combine trips
- Don’t use the air conditioning
- Drive defensively
- Use cruise control
- Avoid losing momentum
- Avoid idling
- Avoid hills
- Anticipate your route
- Try coasting
There is a bit of satisfaction that comes from suddenly gunning your vehicle. However, suddenly going from zero to 60 is a bad driving habit that eats through your fuel.
When your car is at a complete stop, it has to put more effort into pushing itself back up to a manageable speed. Because of this, it is best to avoid breaking hard and picking up pace from this stopping point too quickly.
This issue compounds if you do this during cold weather, as it puts further strain on your engine.
Your vehicle is more likely to be more fuel-efficient if you keep your car warm. Because of this, try and combine multiple trips into a single event, if at all possible.
Not only will this give you more control over the amount of time you spend in your car, but it will also keep your vehicle from having to start from nothing multiple times a day.
As we have said multiple times, the harder your engine has to work, the more gas you end up using.
Don’t Use The Air Conditioning
If you can avoid it, open your windows to allow in the cold outside air. It is far preferable to operate your air conditioner, as that will put more pressure on the vehicle.
You can say the same about heaters as well. Remember how your car operates: the battery uses electricity created by the alternator. The more energy that the battery uses, the more pressure you put on the alternator.
In this case, try and find alternatives to going through your car’s energy supply.
If you speed and accelerate rapidly, your car’s gas mileage can increase by about 30%. That usage can go up to as high as 40% at highway speeds, especially during stop and go traffic.
If you have a road rage habit, you may wish to consider investing in driver feedback devices. These devices can assist you in gaining awareness of your poor driving habits.
If these enrage you, there is no shame in seeking mental help. Always go with the flow of traffic. That will make you into a natural defensive driver that is prepared instead of reactive.
Use Cruise Control
Contrary to what you may believe, cruise control has a controlled burst of increasing and decreasing acceleration. Because of this, it does not take up a good deal of gas.
If you drive long highway trips, try and use the cruise control as much as possible. It will provide you with natural increases and decreases of acceleration, but try and stay steady for as long as possible.
If you are using cruise control, be sure to maintain awareness of your surroundings. It is easy to become a passive driver if you allow it.
Avoid Losing Momentum
If you are going at a steady pace, try and maintain that steady pace by staying in clear lanes. By keeping your speed, you can avoid the start and stop issues with the most traffic.
While this is unavoidable in some situations, try and focus on getting to a highway. Long stretches of routes without stop signs allow you to keep momentum. Provided that the drivers are cooperating with your goals, you can maintain a standard speed.
Avoid High Amounts Of Idling
If you know that your car will remain stationary for half an hour, don’t run it. Idling can waste chunks of gas for needless reasons. If you plan on idling, make sure you limit it as much as possible.
There is no real “cut off point” for idling. Just use your best experience in the situation. If you are picking up a friend who takes a good deal of time getting out, turn off your car.
Adjust Your Route To Avoid Hills
With some smaller cars, they struggle to try to go uphill. If possible, try and plan your route to avoid as many hills as possible.
Most hills won’t tax your vehicle too much. But if there are constant ups and downs on your trip, try and find another nearby route.
Anticipate Your Route
There are a lot of people who take the same route during on and off time for work. If possible, try and avoid ways that have constant stop and go traffic.
Coasting is when you decide not to use your accelerator at all. Instead, you choose to use the power of gravity to roll your vehicle downhill. It is incredibly useful if you drive in heavily-trafficked areas.
While coasting, be sure to continue paying attention to your surroundings. Much like cruise control, not having that tactile control of your accelerator can turn you into a passive driver.
Try accelerating at first and allowing your vehicle to coast as long as possible. More massive cars tend to be pretty bad at this, but it depends on your position.
When it comes to saving fuel, it all goes back to a combination of market awareness and good driving habits. Thankfully, much of that market awareness comes in the form of looking at Google Maps. For everything else, be aware of local loyalty programs and gas stations along your way.
Be sure that you prep your trips accordingly. Avoid hills and heavily trafficked areas with stop-and-go traffic, if at all possible. Also, try and keep a standard speed that keeps with the flow of traffic.
Using the guide above, you can train yourself to be a reliable fuel saver. A combination of good driving habits and savvy shopping will save you money on your monthly budget.