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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.

  1. Woman at gas pump

    Don't be dirty:

    A dirty air filter can steal away nearly two miles per gallon -- and worn-out spark plugs can waste just as much from inefficient combustion.
  2. Let your car breathe right:

    If your car has a faulty oxygen sensor, your gas mileage may be decreased by as much as 40 percent.
  3. Go with the flow:

    Consider using public transit -- buses, trains, trolleys. The American Public Transit Transportation Association has links to information about public transportation in your state.
  4. Share and share alike:

    If possible, take advantage of carpools and ride-share programs. Many urban areas allow vehicles with multiple passengers to use special High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) lanes.
  5. Re-think your route:

    Look into lesser-traveled routes where you can travel at a steady pace instead of joining in on rush hour traffic. (Your blood pressure will thank you for it, too.)
  6. Switch your hours:

    If possible, adjust your work schedule to arrive and leave work at off-peak hours to avoid rush hours and traffic jams.
  7. Work remotely:

    Think your boss will let you work from home, even part of the time? Telecommuting uses 0 gallons.
  8. Two wheels good:

    Instead of the car, take a bike, scooter, motorbike or motorcycle to where you need to go.
  9. Stock up:

    Go shopping fewer times -- meaning less driving -- by buying in bulk and stocking up on regularly-used items.
  10. Figure it out first:

    Check maps (especially those online) before you go to make sure you know how to get where you're doing. You'll avoid the hassle, time spent and gas used by getting lost -- or by having to pull over for directions.
  11. A good combination:

    Do several errands in one trip instead of going out multiple times. Stop by the bank or store or gas station on your way back from work. Several short trips taken from a cold start can use twice as much fuel as one trip covering the same distance when the engine is warm.
  12. Shop convenience:

    Several stores offer multiple services in one spot. Do your banking at mini-branch at the grocery store, or grab lunch at the warehouse store.
  13. Just park it:

    Don't circle the lot hoping for a great parking space. Take the shortest route to a free space and walk from there. Circling doesn't just waste gas, but is usually ultimately slower than simply parking somewhere a little less convenient and walking.

  14. The exercise is good for them:

    Have your kids walk or take the bus to school, and maybe rethink some after-school activities that have you driving back and forth. If they're a must-have, form a car pool with some of the other parents.
  15. Stay closer to home:

    Going on vacation? Save the six-hour drive for another time, and choose a attraction nearby.
  16. Start slowly:

    Don't take off fast from a traffic light -- keep it slow and gentle. It may help to drive as if you were balancing a cup of coffee on your lap.
  17. Plan ahead:

    Don't race to a stop sign or traffic light and then brake hard to slow down. Also, try to accelerate before reaching a hill, not while you're on it. All of these tips will help you burn less fuel.
  18. Close the gate:

    It's an urban myth that driving a pickup truck with the tailgate down will decrease wind resistance. In fact, a study published by the National Research Council of Canada says, despite what you'd think, keeping it down (or using a mesh tailgate in its place) actually has the opposite effect. When it's up, a bubble of air forms in the truck bed, and air flows more smoothly over and off the truck, without as much drag. A tonneau cover works best of all.
  19. Don't chill out:

    In the cold weather, watch out for ice and snow buildup. That stuff is heavy, and can accumulate quickly.
  20. Go under cover:

    Park in the garage or use covered parking whenever possible. This will help keep your gas from evaporating in the heat, but also keep the inside of the car cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter, helping avoid excessive need for the air conditioner or defroster.
  21. Bigger isn't always better:

    If you have more than one vehicle, whenever possible, drive the one that gets the best gas mileage.
  22. Start fresh:

    Got a gas guzzler? Think about buying a more fuel-efficient vehicle, an Alternative Fuel Vehicle (AFVs) or a hybrid car.

Have your own gas-saving tips? Tell us about them below!

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