Gas prices are outrageous. They seem to climb higher and higher by the minute. When this upward trend in prices will end is anyone’s guess. With brittle budgets and no relief at the pump in sight, consumers are looking for ways to lower their gasoline bills. Short of investing in a horse and buggy, here are a few gas saving tips to help you get the most from the money you spend at the pump.
Start with your car owner’s manual.
Check your tire pressure. Inflate or deflate your tires so that the pressure of each tire matches the suggested pressure listed in your owner’s manual. Surprisingly, improperly inflated tires can adversely affect your gas mileage.
Check the maintenance schedules in your owner’s manual and see that your car gets the suggested maintenance performed as frequently as recommended by the manufacturer. Dirty air filters, old spark plug wires, and dirty motor oil all affect your engine’s performance. Keeping your car in top working order allows for a more efficient engine, thus reducing the amount of fuel needed to run smoothly.
Clean your fuel system.
Carbon build up plugged fuel injectors and ill-functioning exhaust systems can drain your gas tank quickly. If you are not a backyard mechanic, take your car to an ASE certified garage and request a check of your fuel system. Repair or replace any poorly functioning parts and schedule a check-up in six months before leaving the garage.
Adjust your driving habits.
Speedy takeoffs at the stoplight may make you feel like Mario Andretti, but they are torture on your gas tank. Coast as much as possible and accelerate gradually when necessary. Use your brakes sparingly. Let nature slow you down instead of your brake pads.
Slow down on the highway. Car experts say that traveling faster than 60 mph costs you money. For every 5 mph above 60 mph, it cost you an additional $0.20 a gallon to maintain your speed. By driving at 60 mph instead of 65 mph, you save nearly a tenth of a gallon of gas at current fuel prices.
Clean out your trunk.
Remove any unnecessary items from your car because the excess weight will decrease your gas mileage. Lighten the load to save money. Some car fanatics even argue that a clean car runs better. They meticulously scrub bugs, dirt, and debris from the undercarriage to lighten the car and wax the finish regularly to reduce wind resistance. At the very least, be sure that you’re not consistently carrying more weight in your car than you need to.
Shut off your air conditioning.
A car’s air conditioner sucks gas like a thirsty camel. Use it sparingly, or not at all. If the weather is nice, roll down the windows or use the fan setting. After your car’s interior has heated up by sitting in the baking sun, roll the windows down for a few minutes to allow the hot air to escape rather than turn the air conditioning on immediately. Your air conditioner will run at a higher setting for a shorter period of time if you allow the majority of the heat to escape naturally and replace it with fresh, cool air from the outside.
Put these tips into practice with your car and reap the benefits of better gas mileage. With a little extra work and some common sense, you can fight those outrageous gas prices and save money at the pump.
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