6 Tips for Saving Money on Gas

Filling at the pump is often painful, even when gas prices are low. Saving money on this vital expense, whether you're a new driver or someone who has been commuting half an hour or more to work for years, can change your budget--and these easy tips can help make it easier to get the savings you need each time you fill up.

1. Keep up with maintenance on your car.

Regular car maintenance, from tuning your engine to keeping your tires properly inflated, can make a big difference in how much gas your car is burning with each drive you take. While you don't have to listen to every suggestion made by the mechanic when you get your oil changed, it's important to be sure that your car is well-maintained if you want to save money on your gas.

2. Ease off on the speed.

When you push your car over 65 miles per hour, your fuel economy can decrease by as much as 15%. That means that you're making a big dent in your gas tank for comparatively small gains in speed. Instead, ease off on that speed and take your time getting to your destination. Your wallet will thank you!

3. Drive safely.

When you drive aggressively--flooring the gas pedal instead of increasing speed gradually; slamming on your brakes at the last moment instead of allowing your car to come to a more reasonable stop--you burn gas at a faster rate than you do when you're driving safely. Practicing safe driving is one of the best way to help save money at the gas tank.

4. Streamline your car.

Plenty of little things can add up when it comes to added wind resistance--and as a result, you may see your gas mileage changing. Make sure that you aren't keeping a roof rack installed when you don't need it or driving around town with your bike attached to the back of your car when you aren't planning to use it. A streamlined vehicle gets much better gas mileage than one that is bulky and won't flow smoothly through the streets. While you're at it, clean out your car! If you're carrying a lot of unnecessary extra weight, you're decreasing your car's gas mileage.

5. Take fewer trips.

The best way to save your gas, simply put, is to avoid using it! For example, if you're running into town for just two or three items at one store, you're burning gas along the way. Instead, when possible, try to stack trips together in order to decrease the amount of time you're spending on the road. Go by the bank the same day you buy your groceries or pick up your dry cleaning on your way to pick up those last few items you need for a road trip. Avoid making trips to the grocery store every day; instead, shop once or twice a week. You'll quickly discover that the fewer miles you have to drive, the more you're able to save in gas!

6. Avoid idling.

Sure, you can't prevent idling when you're in traffic. When you're getting in your car to head out for the morning or waiting for someone to join you in your vehicle, however, make sure you aren't letting your car idle unnecessarily. Instead, turn it off! There's no need to waste gas when you aren't going anywhere.

Even with gas prices creeping lower than usual this summer, you still want to be sure that you're getting the best possible gas mileage for your car. These simple tips will allow you to maximize your fuel economy and make the most of every gallon, freeing up your gas budget for other, more important things.

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