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9 Tips to Save on Gas Without Buying a Hybrid

June 29, 2009

The price of oil has steadily increased for the past few months sending prices at the pump back to 2007 levels.  Saving money on gas doesn’t mean you need to run out and buy a new hybrid.  Here are nine things you can do right now so you don’t break the bank when you’re fueling up for your summer road trips:

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Pump ‘Em Up

Believe it or not, properly inflated tires can help improve your gas mileage.  According to the Alliance to Save Energy, low tire pressure can reduce fuel efficiency by as much as 3.3%.  Check your car’s manual or driver’s side door panel to find out the proper inflation for your tires and check regularly.

Passive Not Aggressive

Do you drive like you just held up a bank?  Aggressive driving (i.e. speeding, jackrabbit starts, aggressive braking) can lower your fuel economy by up to 33% at highway speeds according to the Alliance to Save Energy.  Driving sensibly and more smoothly will help improve fuel economy by as much as 66 cents per gallon says the Consumer Federation of America.  Edmunds.com explains that if you slowed your 0-to-60-mph acceleration time down from your current 10 seconds to a more normal city pace of 15 seconds, you’d feel an average of 31% savings on your gas costs.

Pass on the Premium

Unless you are driving a high end sports car, most makes and models will perform fine on regular unleaded gasoline.  Premium fuel may boost engine performance a little in some cars, but does not improve fuel economy.  Your owner’s manual will give you recommended octane, but it is just that, a recommendation.  Martin Peters, manager of public relations for Porsche Cars North America Inc. stated in an interview with the Associated Press that even their cars “will run on regular fuel without damaging the engine,” and the higher octane is really just for “optimum performance.”

Quit Excessive Idling

Do you warm up your car up to a balmy 85 degrees on a cold winter day or sit in massive traffic jams during rush hour?  Limiting your idling can reduce fuel cost by roughly 19%.  If you are idling for more than a minute, it is recommended you shut down your engine.  This may not be possible in work traffic, but can be done if you are stopped at a train.  Also, limit your “warm ups” on your car to only a minute or two.

Slow Down

215798_speedlimitThis might be tough for some of us, but gas mileage decreases rapidly over 60 mph.  Every five miles per hour over 60 is like paying an additional 20 cents per gallon of gas.  Blogger WiseBread talks about how he increased his fuel economy by 15 mpg’s by simply slowing down. 

 

Plan Ahead

Do you tend to run multiple errands during the week?  Try planning ahead to reduce the number of trips you are taking by combining your errands into just one or two days.  Also, plan your routes in advance for the most efficient path to reduce excess mileage.

Shop Around

Technology makes shopping around so much easier when it comes to finding the cheapest gas prices.  You don’t have to drive around from station to station looking for the best deal.  Check out GasBuddy.com.  This handy website can help you find cheap gas prices in your city. 

Lighten Your Load

All that “junk in your trunk” can be a real drag on fuel economy. According to Brian Carr at dailyfueleconomytip.com, for every extra 100 pounds you carry in your vehicle, you reduce gas mileage and fuel economy by roughly 2%.  He tells of his real life example of taking out his golf clubs, cd cases and library books and shedding 44 lbs.  It all adds up.

Take the Challenge

The Alliance To Save Energy has a fun website calculator called the Drive Smarter Challenge where you can enter the make and model of your car and your zip code and they will show you the potential gas savings for your vehicle while they walk you through each idea. 

While these ideas may not seem like a lot on their own, as a whole they can begin to add up and put some cash back in your pocket.

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19 Comments leave one →
  1. June 29, 2009 9:38 pm

    I totally agree with the gas saving info, we have a 2001 Honda Insight hybrid car and love it.

  2. June 30, 2009 9:53 am

    And I love this!

  3. July 13, 2009 2:26 pm

    Spot on! Thanks for a great post.

    Here are a few additional tips to help conserve fuel:

    How To Save Gas

  4. September 15, 2011 2:40 pm

    There are literary dozens of ways a driver can save gas. Especially with today’s gas prices hitting $4.00 plus a gallon. In my opinion, it won’t be long before gasoline is topping $5.00 or more a gallon. This is why I decided to offer my two ebooks about gas saving tips and the truth about gas saving devices for free. Just come to my website, http://caraccessorynews.us listed above, and register on my homepage. In my gas saving tips ebook, I give you 62 ways, you can save money on gas and you can help improve the environment to boot. And I am sure that many of you, after reading my tips ebook, can think of more ways yet. i would be interested if you do think of other ways. Please let me know when you do.

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