Heading out on a road trip this summer? in June of 2015 we took a trip to see the North Dakota State Capitol in Bismark, the South Dakota State Capitol in Pierre, Mount Rushmore, and Crazy Horse Memorial near Keystone. While we were extremely excited about our trip, I wasn’t happy that gas prices were spiking all over the U.S. Sadly this is probably going to get worse again this year as summer comes into full swing. With that in mind, I decided to post 15 tips to help you save trips to the gas station.
I will start with some basic car maintenance. Below are several things you should be doing anyway, but especially before a long trip:
- Make sure to have regular tune-ups as stated by the manufacturer. A properly maintained engine can improve mileage by up to 4%.
- Make sure your tire pressure is within recommended limits. The average under-inflation of 7.5 pounds causes a loss of 2.8% in fuel efficiency.
- Check air filters regularly. Nearly one in four cars need an air filter replacement. A clean air filter can improve gas mileage by as much as 10%.
- Make sure your tires are aligned correctly. If not, this can cause tires to wear out more quickly and force engines to work harder.
- Check gas cap otherwise you’ll also see more fuel evaporate over time, especially in hot climates. Nearly 17% of cars on the road have broken or missing gas caps.
So your vehicle is well maintained and ready to go. Great! Here are some other fuel-sipping basics that can help take away the pain at the pump:
- Warm Up the Engine. Cars get better fuel economy when the engine is warm, so try to hit the farthest destination first, then work your way back home. A fully warmed-up engine will remain at an efficient temperature even if it’s parked for 30 minutes.
- Do your errands all in one trip, and try not to make separate outings if possible. A little bit of foresight will stretch your fuel economy.
- Parking in the shade whenever possible can also be a cost saver. This will help keep gasoline from evaporating right out of your fuel tank. This happens regardless of the season, but it does it quicker when you park in the sun.
- Fill up your tank early on Wednesday or Thursday morning. Do not wait until the weekend. Gas station owners typically increase gas prices on Thursday at 10 a.m. in anticipation of the weekend. Buying gas at the coolest time in the early morning will also help reduce gas evaporation.
- Avoid the convenient gas station near your house or on the side of the highway. Instead, use a gas app such as GasBuddy for your smartphone, to locate the cheapest gas near you.
- Slowing down will also save you money. For every 5 mph you reduce on the highway, you can reduce fuel consumption by 7%.
- Lighten up your load. For every 100 extra pounds carried around, your vehicle loses 1 to 2% fuel efficiency.
- Buy discount gas gift cards or find coupons. You can also choose to be loyal to one gas company and get rewarded with its cash-back credit card reward program. We are part of Kroger’s gas reward program and save a lot in gas each month.
- Keep your windows closed when driving on a highway, as that could reduce your gas mileage by as much as 10 percent. But open them in stop-and-go traffic and turn the A/C off. It’s not a lot, but it adds up.
- Making only right turns can save you an average of 3%. FedEx does it, and the MythBusters proved it works. By reducing loitering time, and idling while waiting for traffic to clear, you are saving gas.
Hope some of these tips help you save at the pump and help your family have a pleasant road trip with no maintenance issues and a few extra bucks to spend on your vacation. Looking for a few more tips? Here is a link to the AAA website with a few more you can look through. Happy road tripping.
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