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How to save money on gas!!!

  1. Drive less

    1. Walk, bike, ride the bus or join a carpool.

    2. Reduce your commute by moving closer to work or working closer to home. This will save time as well as money. You may even be able to save even more money by becoming a one-car family.

    3. Combine trips. If you can do several short trips in one longer trip, you will save fuel and time. Make lists to avoid having to go back. Call ahead to avoid wasted trips.

    4. Walk between stops. Once you get into town, some of your stops may be near each other. Park between some or all of them and walk.

    5. Park in the first spot you find. If you wander all over the parking lot looking for that really close parking space, you'll use more gas. Don't be afraid to walk a ways if it comes to that - the walk will do you good!

  2. Find good prices

    1. Don't be brand conscious when buying gas. Buy where you can get the best deal. Regular gas is very much a commodity meaning there isn't any significant difference between any of the brands. In fact, all the brands fill their tanker trucks at whatever refinery is closest and the only difference between "brands" is a few gallons of a proprietary additive package that gets mixed with the fuel loaded to the truck. All additives must meet OEM and EPA performance standards so the only real difference between brands is the audacity of the superior performance claims.

    2. Use a fuel with the lowest required octane. Low-octane "regular" gas is usually all that is required. Octane is only a rating of the fuel's resistance to engine-damaging pre-ignition ("knock") in high-performance engines (that few people have). Low octane gas is less expensive and a better value if that's all your engine requires. Best case scenario you're wasting money by filling up with a higher than recommended grade of gas. Worst case scenario that high octane fuel is building up damaging carbon deposits in your engine because it's not being burned as completely as lower octane fuel would be. Check your owner's manual to be sure. Modern high performance cars will sometimes recommend higher octane fuels because they are engineered to use those fuels. The use of lower than recommended octane will not make your car explode, the ECM (Engine Control Module, aka:computer) will adjust the fuel injectors and spark timing to save the engine and compensate for you cheaping out at the pump. Those adjustments will consist of retarding the spark (reducing power and efficiency) as well as dumping lots of extra fuel into the cylinders to cool them, potentially costing you more than getting mid grade or premium IF that's what your car requires. Also remember that engines need less octane at higher altitudes. If your engine does not "knock" on regular, paying more for a higher octane rating is a waste since the increased octane makes no significant improvement to gas mileage and it is no better for your engine. All available fuels have detergent and additive packages.

    3. Apply for a credit card which offers gas savings when you use the card for purchases. This works in much the same way that some credit card companies allow you to earn frequent flyer miles when you use their card for purchases.

    4. Join a loyalty club. Some gas stations, department stores and grocery stores offer lower prices when you present their membership card. Keep your eyes open and verify that their prices are really lower than other stations in your neighborhood.

    5. Check the web for deals. With the ever increasing gas prices, use the Internet to find the cheapest gas near you. Some of these sites even offer text messaging capabilities, where they will send you the a text message with the location of the cheapest gas in your area. Here are 3 sites that enable you to search for lower price in your town: MapQuest, and now supplies a free gas card valid at most gas stations. But don't drive miles out of your way or wait in excessively long lines (your car gets 0 MPG while stopped and idling.) just for a cheaper station, or you will defeat the purpose.

    6. Mix octanes. In some areas, the lower octane may be too low for your car and the mid-grade or higher octane may be more than what you need. To avoid overpaying and still get the correct octane for your car you can mix the gas. For example, if your car takes 87 octane and the pumps have 85 octane and 89 octane, then when filling your car, fill half the tank with 85 octane and the other half with 89 octane and this will give you an equivalent of 87 octane plus it will save you money because the lower octane gas costs less.

    7. Determine whether gas with ethanol is right for your vehicle

      • If there is a high proportion of ethanol, the lower energy content of the fuel will almost always lower mileage.

      • Fuel with ethanol may be less expensive than standard gas, but consider the reduced fuel economy. You may or may not save money by filling up with cheaper (subsidized) ethanol blended fuel. You first need to know if, and how much your fuel economy suffers on ethanol blended fuel vs. non-ethanol fuel. You then need to calculate your fuel cost per mile (or km) for each fuel.

      • Ethanol is not much better for the environment, because only ethanol made with sugar cane is more fuel efficient from the harvesting and processing than regular gas. Fuels with ethanol additives can corrode fuel lines in vehicles not designed with ethanol fuels in mind, but E10 and E20 do not damage your engine.

    8. Don't refill your tank until the last quarter tank but don't push this any further. Doing this can extend your gas because you are hauling a lighter fuel load. It also gives you the opportunity to buy more gas if you run across a bargain. However, in cold weather, you run an increased risk of condensation in the fuel tank. Running a car with less than a quarter tank can shorten the life of the electric fuel pump and running on empty will often destroy the pump because it is forced to run constantly trying to pressurize fuel since it often has access to only air. The hard-running pump motor then overheats because it needs a bath of liquid fuel to transfer operational heat to and it also loses pressure building ability because its internal seals needs gas to lubricate against friction. Keeping the tank one-quarter full also is a safety issue as you never know when you might experience an emergency and need gasoline in your car!

    9. Fill the tank full. If you need to fill up, fill up all the way. The more money you try to save by adding $10 today and then $20 tomorrow will be wasted since each time you will have to travel to the station and wait for a pump. Instead, do it all at once to save time and money.

    10. Don't top off the tank. It is wasted money and bad for the environment because it invariably forces liquid fuel into the evaporative emissions system where it overwhelms circuits that are supposed to only route fuel tank vapors to the engine while it is running and can be burned.

    11. Buy gas on Wednesday. Gas prices are statistically the cheapest on Wednesdays, but this is only statistically true over a large number of days. It won't be true every week.

    12. Buy gas three days before a holiday. Gas prices almost always go up for holidays.

  3. Take care of your car

    1. Give your car a tune up. Properly maintaining your car will keep your car running as efficiently as possible.

      1. Change the oil regularly. Use a synthetic oil instead of mineral oil. This will cause your engine to run better and give you better mileage.

      2. Upgrade your air filter. More efficient brands of air filters cost a little more but will pay for themselves in most vehicles in fuel savings. Check it every oil change and change it regularly. Clogged air filters cause engines to work overtime which requires more fuel.

      3. Use a fuel injector cleaner or complete fuel system treatment occasionally. Not only will you see a boost in gas mileage, but in your car's overall performance. Fouled injectors vaporize fuel poorly, affecting how completely the fuel is burned.

    2. Upgrade your tires. Low resistance tires, such as Michelin Energy MX 4 Plus claim to increase gas mileage.

    3. Check the air pressure in the tires every week. Buy an inexpensive air pump and an accurate tire gauge. Keep all tires inflated to the pressure as recommended for your car.

    4. Clean out any unnecessary items in your car. If you have heavy objects in your car that you don't need, remove them. If your car is lighter, it will use less fuel to get where you're going.

    5. Remove unneeded racks. If you have a bicycle or ski rack, remove it when you're not using it. It causes drag and lowers mileage.

  4. Buy a different car

    1. Buy a diesel. Diesel cars can often get better mileage than comparable hybrids. Getting a diesel car also allows for use of bio-diesel or even waste vegetable oil (WVO/SVO) fuel.

    2. Buy a hybrid. Not only do hybrids give you immediate savings at the pump, the U.S. government and your local state offer tax breaks for people who use gas-saving cars. Federal deductions for using gas-saving cars can be as high as $2,000, but check before buying to see if they're still in effect. Also, check with your insurance company because Hybrids have higher insurance rates.

    3. Buy a smaller car. Generally speaking, smaller cars are lighter and get better mileage.

    4. Buy a motorcycle or scooter instead of a car. They are cheaper and often get 70 MPG or better. Riding gear is available for most weather conditions. A good example is the Kawasaki EX250, which costs about $3,000, gets 60-70 MPG at highway speeds, and can go 0-60 MPH in under 6 seconds!

  5. Drive smarter

    1. Avoid idling. While idling, your car gets exactly 0 miles per gallon while starting the car uses the same amount as idling for 6 seconds. Park your car and go into the restaurant rather than idling in the drive-through. Idling with the air conditioning on also uses extra fuel. Also, avoid going so fast that you have to brake for someone. Whenever you brake, you waste the gas it took to get going that fast.

    2. Plan a Road Trip">Plan your trips in advance. This can prevent wasting fuel and wasting time. Plan to use alternative routes. Often back roads can prevent you from stopping at traffic lights and more importantly sitting in traffic jams. Try to schedule your trips and errands when traffic is lighter.

    3. Use a global positioning system (GPS) to help you navigate and find the fastest and shortest distance to your destination. Avoiding hills and stops will increase your gas mileage.

    4. Drive at a consistent speed. Avoid quick acceleration and hard braking. Cruise control will keep you at a constant speed, even when going up and down hills.

    5. Avoid stops. If approaching a red light, see if you can slow down enough to avoid having to actually stop (because you reach the light after it is green). Speeding up from 5 or 10 miles per hour will be easier on the gas than starting from full stop.

    6. Anticipate the stop signs and lights. Look far ahead; get to know your usual routes. You can let up on the gas earlier. Coasting to a stop will save the gasoline you would otherwise use maintaining your speed longer. If it just gets you to the end of a line of cars at a red light or a stop sign a few seconds later, it won't add any time to your trip. Ditto for coasting to lose speed before a highway off-ramp: if it means you catch up with that truck halfway around the curve instead of at the beginning, you haven't lost any time. In many cities, if you know the streets well, you can time the lights and maintain the appropriate speed to hit all green lights. Usually this is about 35 to 40 MPH.

    7. Maintain a safe following distance. Don't stick to the bumper of the car directly in front of you. You will brake more and accelerate more to keep that unnecessary and dangerous narrow gap. This also gives you a lot more room to play with when you are timing traffic signals. Likewise, "Handle Tailgaters on the Road">ignore tailgaters. They will tailgate you whether you go the speed limit, or 100MPH over the speed limit. Allow them pass when it's convenient.

    8. Slow down. Air resistance goes up as the square of velocity. The power consumed to overcome that air resistance goes up as the cube of the velocity. Rolling resistance is the dominant force below about 40 mph. Above that, every mph costs you mileage. Go as slow as traffic and your schedule will allow. Drive under 60-65 since air grows exponentially denser, in the aerodynamic sense, the faster we drive. To be precise, the most efficient speed is your car's minimum speed in it's highest gear, since this provides the best "speed per RPM" ratio. This is usually about 45 to 55 miles per hour.

    9. Take off slowly from a full stop. This is one adjustment that will have dramatic effects on your gas mileage; don't tear off from a stoplight or stop sign!

    10. Stay well away from store fronts where you will spend significantly more time idling and waiting for pedestrians and other vehicles.

    11. Use A/C only on the highway. At lower speeds, open the windows. This increased the drag and reduces fuel efficiency, but not as much as the AC at low speeds (35-40 mph). The air con - when used a lot - is known to use up about 8% of the fuel you put into your car.

    12. Shift into neutral if you are not comfortable with downshifting. Standard transmission vehicles may save gas by shifting into neutral when going down hills steep enough to maintain speed (although engine braking is safer on steeper declines). Do not do this in a Hybrid car, they use this "regenerative engine braking" to generate electricity and charge the batteries. NOTE: This strategy will result in more wear and tear on your brakes. Neither of these strategies is recommended for normal automatic cars. Also, if you own a car with fuel injection, it is more efficient to keep the car in a high gear while going down hills. Simply take your foot off the gas.

    13. Park in the shade. Gasoline actually evaporates right out of your tank, and it does so faster when you park directly in the sun - winter or summer. Parking in the shade also keeps it cooler inside, and you will need less A/C to cool off when you get back in. If there is no shade available, park so that your gas tank (the actual tank under the car, not the valve to fill it) is facing away from the direct sun. Also, today's fuel systems are supposed to be airtight. Your gas cap should have a seal in it. Make sure that the seal is keeping the fumes in and outside air out.


Greg Johnson says:
at: April 11, 2009 at 7:03 AM said...

Learn the benefits of using Synthetic Oil in a free 20 video series on Questions People have asked about using Synthetic Oil.
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