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Tom Clark|United States

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Gasoline Saving Tips for the Summer

May 21, 2019

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One of the great pastimes in this country is taking summer road trips. There’s nothing quite like packing up the car and driving the family to your favorite beach or heading to your parents’ house to drop off the kids for a few weeks. There's also taking a solo trip somewhere to get some clarity and perspective.

It’s an amazing feeling to be able to jump in the car and go. What’s not so amazing is the price tag associated with this kind of traveling.

Last summer, the average price for gas was about $2.85 per gallon. If you happened to own a van last year, that means you were spending about $60.00 every time you wanted to fill up your vehicle.  

And while gas prices this summer are expected to hover around $2.76 per gallon, your wallet will still feel the hefty impact.

But no worries, keep reading as we go over some great gasoline saving tips.

Ditch the Excess Weight

We’re not talking passengers here, but rather the unnecessary items you keep in your car. The more excess weight you ride down the road with, the faster you burn your fuel.

Try cleaning out the mobile closet you call the trunk and take out the loose clothes, shoes, the bags, and any other miscellaneous items you’re used to keeping in your vehicle.

Check Your Tires

A cheap little tool that can help you at the gas tank is a tire gauge. A tire gauge can be used to ensure your tires are inflated to the manufacturer’s recommended level. And that becomes important because well-inflated tires maximize your vehicle’s fuel economy.

Conversely, underinflated tires will actually cause you to burn more gas.

By the way, consistently driving around on underinflated tires can actually reduce the tread life of your tires. 

Be Aware of Your Speed

Having a need for speed is actually hard on the old gas tank.  The United States Department of Energy actually sites that speeding can lower your gas mileage by an estimated 15 to 30%.

With a statistic like that, you have to wonder if speeding actually gets you to a destination that more quickly if you have to stop more frequently for fill-ups.

Avoid Traffic

For some, trying to avoid traffic is like trying to avoid breathing. However, if you can possibly find a travel route or time of day where it isn’t stop-and-go, you’ll do your gas tank and wallet a favor.

Again, the Department of Energy estimates you lower your gas mileage by roughly 10 to 40% in traffic.

Shop Around for the Lowest Prices

We strongly recommend you shop around for gas. Not stopping to fill up at the first gas station that you see can save you some money.

While you may think there’s not a ton of time to price shop while you’re on the road in the midst of your summer travels, there are actually methods to help you find the cheapest gas mid-trip. There are a few websites and apps available that you can use as you travel to help you find the lowest gas prices.

If you’re actually one of those individuals that likes to plan his or her stops before hitting the road, you can also do some price shopping on the internet before you leave home, and plan to hit the cheap gas locations.

Use Air Conditioning If You Can

Considering some of the alarming heights the summer temperatures can reach, this may sound absurd. Most people don’t want to drive down the road in a hot box if they can help it.

However, in those moments when you think you can stand not blowing the air conditioning on full blast, then don’t.

Avoid Idling and Turn Off the Engine

Sitting in your parked car with the engine running is like leaving the lights on in your house when you’re not home. In both cases, you’re wasting energy and money.

Despite the myth that turning your car off and on waste more gas, that’s actually not necessarily true. Once you sit idle in your car for longer than 30 seconds, you actually start using more gas than you would if you turn off the vehicle and turn it back on when you’re ready to ride.

Do Your Research Buying a Car

If you’re in the market for buying a car this summer before you travel, make sure you do some research on the vehicles you have an interest in purchasing. Pay close attention to the fuel economy.

And for those looking to buy a used car in great condition, make sure you follow the used car inspection checklist.

Keep Up with Your Car Maintenance

You may find keeping up with those routine oil changes and mileage tune-ups to be a hassle, but they are necessary. Keeping up with a consistent maintenance service schedule will not only lengthen the life of your vehicle, but it will also save you money at the pump.

To give you an example of the importance of regularly maintaining your car, properly changing the air filter in your car prevents the engine air supply from being clogged. A limited engine air supply results in a higher gasoline consumption rate.

Gasoline Saving Tips Are Worth Taking

We just scratched the surface with the gasoline saving tips above. There are a host of other things you can do to save a little extra money this summer.

And if you want more tips on how to save money, make sure you check out our other posts on finances.