Save money on gas + free ebook
When I moved to America in the spring of 2001, I was paying around $1.40/gallon. Not so long ago, the price of mid-grade was double that, although now I'm paying around $2.20/gallon for my fuel. So, I decided to reduce my costs and look into ways to spend less at the pump. I found a lot of tips, plus a link to a 96-page ebook that I'll share with you at the end of this article.
Now, as I soon discovered, there are literally hundreds of ways to chop a penny or two here and there. Way too many to list here. But I'm a big fan of Top 10 lists, so here's mine. Once again, no particular order here folks.
1: Fill up in the evenings
Believe it or not, the pumps deliver a little more gas per dollar when the temperatures are lower. If you follow that logic, right now in Colorado I should be getting more bang for my buck than you folks in sunny L.A.
2: Topping-off short-changes you
It's something a lot of us do, because we don't want to be driving anywhere without a decent amount in the tank. But, when you only put a small amount of gas in your car, the pump doesn't get a chance to fully activate. In the long run, topping off can add several cents to the cost of a gallon of gas.
3: Follow the crowd - find busy gas stations
It seems an odd statement, right? Normally, I'm all against waiting any longer than I have to. But, the busy stations have fresher fuel, because their tanks are constantly being refilled. And that gives you more power from your gas than the fuel you'd find at those slow stations, which has been gradually contaminated by sitting for months and months in the pit.
4: Shopping around can save you mucho buckeroos
On one street in my neighborhood, the cost of regular differed by 20 cents between three different stations. For a 20 gallon tank, that's a $4 difference. Multiply that by 24 (that's how many times I have to fill up per year...I'm lucky I live close to work) and that's almost $100 saved per year, just by driving an extra 2 minutes. It all adds up. To find gas savings nearby, try GasPriceWatch or GasBuddy .
5: Always keep your tires at the correct pressure
It's a pain to keep checking them, but under-inflated tires take more power to roll. More power = more gas = more cost. The correct tire pressure is printed on the tire itself, it's usually around 32psi but check your own tires to make sure. And you could always try replacing your current tires with Low Rolling Resistance tires (LLR...a lot of Hybrids have them now) to further improve gas mileage.
6: Only buy the grade you need
I put mid-grade in my car because the manual recommends it. I drive an import. But my wife's car is a Chrysler and the manual says that 85 is perfectly fine. And you only really need that premium gas if you're driving some kind of super-machine ( a Porsche is not in my future any time soon). So, unless you want that extra cost for some kind of status symbol, keep it real.
7: Turn that gas cap
You're not going to break it by turning it a few clicks. A tight gas cap prevents fuel from evaporating, and that could save you a lot of money over the year. Another way to prevent evaporation is to park in the shade.
8: Use A/C when you need it
Air-conditioning and climate-control puts a big strain on your gas consumption. If it's cooler outside, roll down a window. Alternate between the A/C and the fan in the summer months. The cool air circulating in your car will take a while to heat up. I know, I know, it's an annoying way to save money. But it does work.
9: Never take the car to empty
It's good advice for many reasons. After all, who wants to run out of gas on the side of some creepy highway at midnight? (I've seen way to many horror movies). But, when it comes to gas consumption, you use more gas when the tank is almost empty. Your vehicle runs less efficiently as it tries to speed up and slow down in the mornal fashion. Ideally, fill your tank when it's around 1/4 full.
10: Weekends are pricier than weekdays
Not all the time, but most of the time. Due to increased leisure driving over the weekends, the gas prices rise to meet demand. The best times to get your gas are Tuesday evenings and Wednesday mornings.
I could go on and on, but these are my top 10 and they're easy enough to remember. If you really want to take this gas-saving business to the next level, I can highly recommend an ebook I recently read called "How To Save At The Pump: 62 Ways" by Fred Greenwald. It's usually around $7 in paperback, but I found a link to a free ebook version here. You'll have to give them the usual name and email address info, but skip the part about the credit card and hit the back button. You'll get to the link that lets you download the complete book for free.
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