It’s mid-spring and with the weather warming up, the roads are becoming busier as activities ramp up and people engage in spring/summer trips and holidays. Gas prices are also trending up!
Here are 12 savvy ways to save on your gas bill this summer:
1. Carry out regular maintenance
Keeping your engine regularly tuned will increase your fuel efficiency and lower your gas bill. Following your vehicle manufacturer’s recommended maintenance schedule, including oil and filter changes, and keeping your tires aligned will do your wallet some good.
2. Control your speed
Over-speeding coupled with excessive braking is a major cause of increased gas consumption. At speeds over 90 km/hr, fuel efficiency generally starts to drop. Consider using cruise control for constant speed when on the highway and coast to a stop when possible instead of sudden braking. According to the U.S. Dept of Energy, excessive braking and rapid acceleration can increase gas use by up to 40%.
3. Take a walk or ride a bike
Consider walking short distances or riding a bike to both save on gas and burn some calories! Obviously a WIN-WIN: good for your health and your wallet! If your co-workers live nearby, consider sharing rides or carpooling.
4. Monitor your tire pressure
Driving on an under-inflated tire can decrease your car’s fuel efficiency by as much as 6% and will also wear out your tires faster. Check your tire pressure at least once a month and ensure it’s properly inflated, particularly in fluctuating weather conditions. To get accurate readings, tires should be inflated when they are cold. Remember, over-inflating your tires can also pose a risk to your safety.
5. Reduce car idling
Turn off your car engine if you’ll be idling for longer than 30 seconds. Today’s vehicles don’t require a warm-up greater than 30 seconds before moving in cold conditions. You will save gas and also reduce the amount of greenhouse gases you are letting into the atmosphere.
6. Turn off the AC
If travelling at lower speeds, consider lowering your car windows for ventilation. Turning on your AC when travelling at highway speeds may be more efficient as there is more wind resistance with the windows down. Consider turning off the AC a few minutes before arriving at your destination. You will still enjoy a fairly cool car interior and save on gas.
7. Plan your trips
If you plan your trip ahead by combining errands and using the best routes, you can save a lot of gas. Use your GPS to plot the shortest or fastest route, avoid traffic and traffic lights.
8. Reduce unnecessary loads
Are you lugging around unnecessary stuff in your car? it could be destroying your gas mileage! Get rid of the bicycle and luggage racks that are not in use, and other junk/clutter in your car. Every additional 100 lbs of load lowers your fuel efficiency by about 1%.
9. Buy a fuel-efficient vehicle
Avoid buying a “gas-guzzling” beast of a car that will significantly increase your gas bill no matter what you do. Consider getting a vehicle with improved fuel efficiency such as a hybrid. A smaller car usually uses less gas.
10. Look for gas deals and discounts
Gas stations sometimes have deals for cheaper gas on certain days. Consider getting a points or rewards card that pays you back whenever you fill up your tank.
For example, I use the PC Financial Card that also comes with a Free $75 e-Gift Card and awards grocery points every time I use it (including shopping online, in-store, buying gas at Canadian Superstore, Esso, etc.).
There are also websites and smartphone apps that help you to find cheap gas for your area. An example is Gas Buddy.
11. Move closer to work
Commuting 5 days per week to employment that is located a great distance from your residence will hurt your wallet. Consider moving closer to your workplace or carpooling with other colleagues.
12. Forget about premium gas
Most cars don’t need premium gas to perform efficiently and premium gas doesn’t improve your gas mileage. Avoid spending the extra bucks required for premium gasoline. Also, remember to close your gas cap tightly to limit gas from evaporating away.