With the average price of gasoline continuing to reach new highs, many consumers are feeling the pinch each time they drive up to the pump. In a new survey by Cambridge Consumer Credit Index, 56 percent of Americans say increased gasoline prices are a "major concern" for their household budgets, and 53 percent will be forced to make sacrifices by cutting back on other spending.
Two of the best ways to help save money on gas are through normal vehicle maintenance and paying attention to driving styles. These alone can help improve efficiency by 30 percent. Dollar's automotive experts are eager to pass on these tips for saving money on gas today:
The most assured method of downsizing the fuel bill is to drive a smaller or more fuel-efficient vehicle. Trade in your larger, less-efficient vehicles for a smaller more fuel-efficient vehicle. Used cars are some of the best values on the road because you can move into a newer, smaller vehicle for less than new.
Get the lead (foot) out
Not only is driving faster than the posted speed limit dangerous, it burns more fuel. So slowing down not only decreases trips to the pump, it also improves safety.
Clean up the car
Everyone tends to tote a few extra items in their vehicle. Take some time to empty the trunk, clean out the back seat and remove the luggage rack. The lighter the vehicle, the better the fuel efficiency and the more money you save on gas.
As the gas tank hits the halfway mark, begin observing area prices. Another option is to check the Internet; there are a number of web sites that report local gas prices. Check out http://www.gasbuddy.com or http://www.gaspricewatch.com for a free look at the best deals. Then, when it's time to fill up, pick the cheapest local station. Driving a significant distance will end up costing more in the long run.
"Jack-rabbit" starts and hard braking can increase fuel consumption by as much as 40 percent. Easing into starts and stops is easier on the vehicle and safer for everyone on the road.
Pump it up
Check tire pressure at least once a month. Under-inflated tires can cause increased rolling resistance and increased fuel consumption by as much as 6 percent.
Hit the books
Check the owner’s manual regarding the vehicle’s fuel requirements. Premium, high-octane fuels don't guarantee better performance. In fact, such fuels don't provide any greater fuel efficiency. Many automobiles are designed to use regular low-octane fuel. If your vehicle doesn’t require premium or mid-grade fuel, buy regular unleaded.
Kill two (or more) birds with one stone
Consolidating trips and errands to cut down on driving time can eliminate hundreds of miles – and dozens of gallons of gas. Combine trips to the dry cleaners, bank, gym, grocery store, etc., into one trip.
Want to know your gas mileage?
The next time you fill up, reset your trip odometer. When you fill up again, divide the total trip miles by the number of gallons required to fill up your tank.
Follow these tips and watch your gas mileage increase.