With holiday travel on the horizon, many families are looking at their budget and wondering how to save money on gas. Though gas prices are relatively low â€” the average cost for a gallon of regular gas has hovered around $2 since April 2016 1Â â€” many people can expect to increase their gas consumption in the colder months by driving more and walking less and visiting family and friends during the holidays.
A few small tweaks can make a world of difference when it comes to the amount you spend each year on gasoline.
Time Your Gas Purchases Correctly
Gas stations tend to raise prices between Wednesday and Saturday when demand is highest â€” avoid the long lines and the higher per-gallon by filling up your tank early in the week.
Consider a Gas Credit Card
By opting for a credit card that rewards you with cash back for every fuel purchase, you’re earning more rewards when you fill up your tank. With the Discover itÂ® Chrome Card, for example, cardmembers earn 2% cash back at gas stations and restaurants on up to $1,000 in combined purchases each quarter, plus 1% cash back on all other purchases.
Aggressive driving â€” speeding, excessive acceleration and braking â€” is a major gas guzzler. Consider a few figures from the U.S. Department of Energy. Aggressive driving lowers your gas mileage by 33% on the highway, and 5% on smaller roads. What’s more, gas mileage overall decreases once you hit 50 miles per hour. Additionally, for every five miles per hour you drive over 50, it’s like paying an extra .16 for each gallon of gas you use. 2
Get Rid of Extra Weight
If you’re using your car as a storage locker, don’t. That’s because carrying around an extra 100 pounds in your vehicle reduces your fuel efficiency by 1%. The same goes for rooftop cargo, which can reduce fuel efficiency by 2-8% in the city, 6-17% on the highway and a whopping 10-25% while driving between 65 and 75 MPH.2
Check Your Tires
Deflated tires aren’t just a road hazard â€” they also negatively affect your gas mileage. Inflating them to the proper pressure boosts gas mileage by 3.3%. 3
We are all tempted to let the car run while we wait for our kids to finish practice or while we step inside to retrieve a forgotten cell phone. But this seemingly benign behavior hits your wallet hard by guzzling a quarter to a half-gallon of fuel per hour.2 Instead of idling, turn your engine off; it takes only 10 seconds of gas to restart your car.
Try GasBuddy and Waze next time you’re about to hit the road. GasBuddy locates the lowest gas prices in your area, while Waze directs you to the most efficient routes. Just make sure you consult them before you get behind the wheel.