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44 ways to save money on gas

Nancy Price co-founded SheKnows.com in 1999, and now serves as Executive Editor and CEM (Chief Executive of Miscellany). In the midst of growing several award-winning websites over the past decade (woo!), she also served as the editor-in...

44 ways to save on gas

With gas prices high and still on the rise, everyone's looking for ways to save gasoline -- and to save money. But what can you do today to make the most of your gas money? These 44 tips will help you spend less on gas -- and in many cases, will also make you safer and decrease wear and tear on your car.

Woman with gas pump

  1. Drive smart:

    Drive smart: Aggressive driving (meaning quick acceleration, hard braking and speeding) wastes gas. In fact, it can lower your gas mileage by 33 percent at highway speeds, and by five percent on the city streets.
  2. Go the speed limit:

    Gas mileage decreases rapidly at speeds above 60 mph. Each 5 mph you drive over 60 mph is like paying an additional 15 to 20 cents per gallon of gas. Is it worth it?
  3. Lighten up:

    Avoid keeping unnecessary items in your vehicle, especially heavy ones. An extra 100 pounds of weight in your vehicle could reduce your MPG by up to two percent, which adds up over time!
  4. Take it off the top:

    A loaded roof rack, or even an empty roof storage container, can decrease your fuel economy by five percent, due to wind resistance.
  5. Don't be idle:

    Idling gets 0 miles per gallon. Cars with larger engines typically waste more gas at idle than do cars with smaller engines. If you know you will have to wait more than one to two minutes, shut off your engine.

  6. Warm enough:

    When starting the engine, idle it no more than 30 seconds. Your engine will warm up faster on the road, and you won't be burning any more fuel than you need to.
  7. Hold on 'til they're ready:

    Don't start the car until everyone's in. Many people turn on the ignition, expecting the rest of the passengers to arrive momentarily... and sometimes that means a few minutes' wait, burning up gas (and creating toxic fumes in the immediate vicinity).
  8. Don't wait:

    Picking someone up? No sense sitting there idling. Call ahead so they're ready and waiting when you get there, or arrive a couple minutes after your scheduled meeting time.
  9. Get pumped up:

    Pumped up: Keep your tires properly inflated and aligned to increase gas mileage by up to three percent. Under-inflated tires can lower gas mileage by nearly half a percent for every 1 psi drop in pressure of all four tires. Properly inflated tires are also safer and last longer.
  10. Snow's gone:

    Take off the snow tires if winter weather has passed. Driving on those deep tire treads means more rolling resistance.
  11. Be cool:

    If you're hot, don't open the windows -- they increase drag and decrease gas mileage, especially at highway speeds. Ultimately, using the air conditioner is cheaper to run, though you should try to minimize your use of the AC. When you can, use the vents to bring in outside air.
  12. Shop around:

    Don't go to the neighborhood gas station just because it's there, or because you have one of their company's gas credit cards. Check out other stations as you go about town and make a note of where you can fill up for less. You can also go online: www.GasBuddy.com or www.GasPriceWatch.com will help you locate good deals.
  13. Choose wisely:

    Don't assume that neighboring gas stations will have the same prices -- look around. Also note that gas stations near freeways and popularly-traveled roads, as well as those in high-income areas, will charge more.
  14. Time to buy:

    In general, gas prices are updated at around 10am. So if prices are going up, you might save by pumping a little earlier. According to gaspricewatch.com, you should expect a rise on Thursday mornings.
  15. Paying a premium:

    For most cars, the recommended gasoline is regular octane. In most cases, using a higher octane gas than the manufacturer recommends offers no particular benefit. Unless your engine is knocking, some experts say that buying higher octane gasoline is a waste of money.
  16. Don't top it off:

    When the pump automatically clicks off, stop fueling. Any "extra" gas you can get will probably seep out.
  17. Put a lid on it:

    Your gas will evaporate right out of the tank if given the chance. So make sure you have a gas cap, and that it's tight and in good working condition.
  18. Lock it up:

    If your tank isn't secured, get a locking gas cap. With prices so high, you're more of a target for siphoners if you're not locked up tight. Locking gas caps are available at most auto parts stores.
  19. Go cruising:

    When traffic permits, using cruise control on the highway helps you maintain a constant speed, and, in most cases, will save gas.
  20. Get into overdrive:

    When you use overdrive gearing, your car's engine speed goes down. This saves gas and reduces engine wear.
  21. Oil is well:

    You can improve your gas mileage by one to two percent by using the manufacturer's recommended grade of motor oil. Look for oil that says "Energy Conserving" on the API performance symbol to ensure it contains friction-reducing additives.
  22. Stay in tune:

    Fixing a car that is out of tune or has failed an emissions test can impove its gas mileage by an average of 4.1 percent (though results vary based on the kind of repair and how well the job is done).

Get 22 more tips on the next page!

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