It’s an election year and gas prices are again soaring! We’re all about to hear, for the nth time, how we need to break our addiction to oil. And that’s about all we can expect from Congress. So if you want to save money at the pump, you need to take matters into your own hands. Here are 3 ways to ease the pain at the pump: shop around for better gas prices, drive more efficiently and keep your car in shape, drive a more fuel-efficient car.
1. Shop around for better gas prices
Gas prices change frequently and may vary as much as 20% within only a few blocks. But driving around looking for a better price can waste gas. What to do? There’s an app for that:
Find the cheapest gas price wherever you go – for free! GasBuddy locates gas stations near you, shows you their current gas prices and even gives you directions and a map to you get there. You can search GasBuddy by price, gas grade, zip code or distance. Or just find what’s nearby. GasBuddy relies on App users to list and update prices. So I found some out-of-the-way rural stations not listed. But that seems to be the exception not the rule. As the GasBuddy community grows, so does the number of gas stations listed. As an incentive, you’ll earn points towards prize give-away for every gas price your report. I don’t use this car app very much, but it’s good to have with you on the road. However, I did use it once to find a nearby bathroom.
- Find the cheapest gas on the go – for free!
- Locate gas stations near you and see their current gas prices.
- For every gas price reported, you’ll earn points towards our prize give-away.
- GasBuddy is a community of users working together to update gas prices.
GassBuddy app is available for iPhone, Android, and Windows Phone.
2. Driving efficiently & keeping your car in shape saves money
Impact on your MPG
|Aggressive driving||Easy does it lead foot, jack-rabbit starts and sudden braking wastes gas. Lowers your gas mileage 33% on the highway and 5% in the city.||Stop driving like a maniac!
– Approximate gasoline savings up to $0.17/gallon (city) and $1.16/gallon (highway)
|High Speeds||Gas mileage decreases rapidly at speeds over 60 mph.||As a rule of thumb, each 5 mph you drive over 60 mph is like paying an additional $0.28/gallon.
– Improves fuel economy by up to 23% — $0.81/gallon.
|Cruise Control||Contrary to popular belief using cruise control can help save you up to 14%.||Helps maintain a constant speed and, in most cases, will save gas.
– Approximate gasoline savings: up to $0.49/gallon.
|Using A/C vs keeping windows down||Conflicting reports on this one:
||It’s up to you|
|Idling too long||Here’s a no brainer: Idling gets 0 miles per gallon. Excessive idling can decease mpg by 19%||Turn off engine when idling more than 1 minute.
– Approximate gasoline savings: $0.67/gallon.
|Poorly inflated tires||Poorly inflated tires can decrease your mpg by 3.3%||Properly inflated tires are safer and last longer.
– Approximate gasoline savings: $0.11/gallon.
|Overloaded||An extra 100 pounds in your vehicle could reduce your mpg by up to 2%.||Clean out that extra junk in your trunk.
– Improves fuel economy by 1-2%
– Approximate gasoline savings: $0.04-$0.07/gallon
|Being a drag on the road||A loaded roof rack can decrease your fuel economy by 5%.||Don’t be such a drag on the road.
– Approximate gasoline savings: $0.07/gallon
|Poorly tuned engine||Poorly tuned engine can reduce mpg by up to 4%.||Get regular engine tune-ups and car maintenance checks to avoid fuel economy problems.
– Approximate gasoline savings: $0.14/gallon.
|Improper motor oil||Using the wrong motor oil can decrease mpg by 1-2%.||Be sure to use the manufacturer’s recommended grade of motor oil. Also, use motor oil with “Energy Conserving” on the API performance symbol to be sure it contains friction-reducing additives.- Improves fuel economy by 1-2%
– Approximate gasoline savings: $0.04-$0.07/gallon.
* Gasoline savings are based on national average for gasoline: $3.52.
US Department of Energy
3. Drive a fuel-efficient car
A vehicle that gets 30 MPG will cost you $880 less to fuel each year than one that gets 20 MPG (assuming 15,000 miles of driving annually and a fuel cost of $3.52). Over a period of 5 years, the 30-MPG vehicle will save you $4,400.
That being said, let’s talk about real savings. Finally electric cars, like the Nissan Leaf and the Mitsubishi i-MiEV have finally hit the market. And while their initial cost may be higher, with no fuel costs they will save you in the long run. If you need more than the 60-100 mile range, then look to hybrids like the Chevrolet Volt and Toyota Prius v with up to 60+ MPG.
For a look at today’s most fuel-efficient vehicles download the 2012 Fuel Economy Guide