Are you going on a road trip any time soon. Have you looked at the price of gas at your neighbourhood pump. With the average price of gas around $3.25 per gallon, getting the best price has become a priority.
Here are our top tips on save money at the pump:
1) Drive like a sane person
Sure, traffic jams, slow drivers in the left lane and rubberneckers may make you crazy. But “angry driving” — like rapidly accelerating — can cost you big, says Kelli Grant, the senior consumer reporter for SmartMoney.com. “If you peel away from a traffic light like you’re in the Indy 500, you’re going to pay for that,” she says. In fact, in a test by Edmunds.com, accelerating slowly from a green light and stopping gradually for a red light cut fuel consumption for someone driving a Land Rover by more than 35% and for a Mustang more than 27%. Furthermore, the study found that cruise control is the way to go on the highway: A Land Rover got roughly 14% better mileage using cruise control set at 70 mph compared to a driver cruising between speeds of 65 and 75 mph; for the Mustang, it was 4.5% better mileage.
2) Strategically time your trips to the pump
During a regular week, you want to fill up your tank on Wednesday or Thursday before 10 a.m., says Chris Faulkner, president and CEO of Breitling Oil and Gas, a Dallas-based independent oil and gas exploration and production company. The reason: “Gas prices rise on Thursdays in anticipation of weekend travel” and “10 a.m. is when most station owners make their price change for the day,” he writes. “Unless it is an emergency, do not buy gas Friday, Saturday or Sunday.” During the holidays, some experts say that prices could rise in anticipation of more drivers on the road. So, see tip #4 below for finding the best prices before you fill up this 4th of July.
3) Use your smartphone
Use the AAA Triptik or GasBuddy apps to find the cheapest gas in your area, says Grant. You can also use your smartphone (the Maps app on the iPhone, for example, shows you traffic) to check the traffic before you leave the house so you can avoid gas-wasting backtracking and idling.
4) Don’t let the engine idle too long
“Don’t let your car idle, either when you warm it up or when you are at a standstill,” Faulkner writes. “If you’re going to be standing for more than a minute, running your engine wastes more gas than restarting the engine.”
5) Pay the right way
Some gas stations charge a premium to pay with credit cards to offset the processing fees that the credit card companies charge them. So, if you want to pay with a credit or debit card, “look for gas stations where paying cash costs the same as using a credit or debit card,” says Faulkner. If you’re having an attendant fill up your car, double check with him to ensure that “if you are paying by cash, that ‘cash’ is noted on the pump, he adds. “You could lose $.05 a gallon if he mistakenly presses ‘credit.’”
6) Do the proper maintenance
Keeping your tires filled with air and your air filter clean can help you save big. “Under-inflated tires can lower gas mileage and affect the handling, braking and tread life,” says Robert Campbell, senior VP of operations at Express Oil Change & Service Center. The reason: “When your tires don’t have enough air in them, their rolling resistance is dramatically increased and it simply takes more gas to get anywhere,” says Faulkner. In fact, you could improve your gas mileage by up to 3.3% by keeping your tires inflated to the proper pressure, according to the Department of Energy. Furthermore, “cleaning air filters in your car can improve your gas mileage up to 7%, which can equate to a savings of about $72 for every 10,000 miles,” says Xavier Epps, the founder and financial adviser at XNE Financial Advising, LLC.
7) Don’t tote around your entire apartment
OK, this sounds totally obvious, but people often don’t think about what’s in their car. Bottom line: Don’t lug around a bunch of crap in your car, as “every 250 extra pounds eats up an extra mile per gallon of gas,” says Faulkner.