With escalating gasoline prices, many Americans are feeling a budget pinch every time they fill up. And while its true that gas prices hit an all-time high this year, drivers aren’t helpless as they try to stretch their transportation dollars. Here are some suggestions for curbing your fuel costs:
Use the lowest grade of gasoline your owners manual recommends. Most cars don’t need premium gasoline.
Buy gas early in the morning or later at night. Gas is densest during the coolest time of the day and you’ll get more for your money since gas is measured by volume, not fuel concentration.
Purchase pre-paid gas cards. They’re convenient, renewable and may offer discounts depending on the amount of gas you buy.
When the gas pump clicks off, get the extra half-cup of gas in the hose by lifting it higher than the handle while its still in the tank.
Keep your tires properly inflated. Under-inflated tires can lower your fuel economy by up to 2 percent for every missing pound of pressure.
Make sure your engine is tuned. If its not, it can use 3 percent to 8 percent more fuel.
Drive the speed limit. Going 65 mph instead of the posted 55 lowers your gas mileage by about 15 percent.
Save time and gas by planning your errands and getting them finished in one day instead of making multiple trips over several days.
Take road trips in the fall. Gas prices are generally cheaper during that time of year.
Shut off your car instead of letting the engine idle too long. You can waste between half a gallon and a gallon of gas per hour.
Use your air conditioner sparingly for better gas mileage. Your engine uses extra energy to power the air conditioner compressor.
Improve gas mileage by driving with the windows up. Car-top carriers, bike racks and ski racks also create air drag for the car, thus reducing gas mileage. Use them only when absolutely needed.
Empty your truck. Extra weight can reduce your cars fuel economy.
Follow these tips, and you’ll be sure to go farther and spend less doing so.