What a Gas!
You may not be able to control the price of gas, but check out these three ways to become fuel thrifty.
1. Avoid aggressive driving: Speeding, rapid acceleration, and perpetual braking waste gas. Driving at a constant speed can lower your gas mileage by up to 33 percent on the highway. Defensive drivers can save up to $1.35 per gallon compared to their speedy counterparts.
2. Clear the air: Your car's air filter prevents airborne impurities from wreaking havoc on your engine. Not only can replacing a clogged air filter save you up to $0.41 on the gallon, but it can also safeguard your engine.
3. Inflate your tires, not your MPGs: By properly inflating your tires, you can save up to 3.3 percent on your miles per gallon (MPG), which equals about $0.12 per gallon. Check your owner's manual for the correct pressure per square inch (psi) for your car's tire size. Appropriately inflated tires results in better gas mileage, improved safety, and longer lasting tires.
4. Watch your speed: Reaching your car's optimal fuel economy depends on the model and speed at which you're traveling. Still, gas mileage decreases rapidly at speeds above 60 mph. As a general rule, every 5 mph you go over 60 costs an additional $0.30 per gallon.
5. Be regular: Most cars do not need premium gas, which has higher levels of octane. In most cases, buying high octane gas will provide you with a bigger hole in your wallet--and nothing more. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) estimates a savings of $0.15 to $0.35 per gallon by switching to regular gas.
6. Use your dipstick: You've probably heard that changing your oil every 3,000 miles will protect your engine, but using the proper oil can save you on gas, too. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates that by using the recommended oil, you can save up to six cents a gallon.
7. Don't stand idly by: Idling for long periods of time gets zero miles per gallon. You may think just sitting there with the engine running is harmless, but it expends precious fuel. A recent report from Texas A&M University found that idling costs Americans $78.2 billion in lost gallons.
8. Use cruise control and overdrive: By using cruise control on the highway, you can maintain a constant speed and reduce the amount of braking necessary for long trips, consequently using less gas to accelerate again. Using your overdrive when trying to brake or go up hill reduces the speed at which your engine works —again saving you gas.
9. Check the cap: It may sound arbitrary, but damaged, loose, or missing gas caps can result in your gas turning to vapor. This can cost you gallons of gas a year, according to the Car Care Council.
10. Trim the weight: If you keep excessively heavy objects in your car, be prepared to spend some MPGs. An extra 100 pounds in your vehicle can cost you an estimated 2 percent of your miles per gallon.