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50 Ways To Save On Gas

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While the new hybrid cars are all the rage, you don't have to invest in a whole new vehicle to start saving on gas.

You can do things to drive your vehicle more efficiently,” said Alan Steinberg, Environmental Protection Agency Regional Administrator.

1. Use car wisely

It starts with paying attention to why, where and when you drive. Drive only when necessary.

2. Use shortest route

Always use the shortest route, which can usually be determined in advance with online map services.

3. Multi-task errands

Multi-task your errands and consolidate them into one trip.

4. Avoid rush hour traffic

Avoid rush hour & other peak traffic periods whenever possible.

5. Plan ahead

Speed wastes gas, plan ahead and you will still get there on time.

6. Shop before you drive

Use the Internet, newspapers or phonebook to comparison shop before you drive to several stores.

7. Find delivery services

Find companies willing to delivery what you need to your home. Consider dry cleaning delivery services, food and anything else that will bring what you need, without burning up your gas.

8. Grocery shop once/week

Small trips to pick up a few things add up to a big waste in gas. Do grocery shopping once a week.

9. Let kids walk

Let the kids walk. They are often close enough to school and friends. They may complain now but they'll thank you someday.

10. Walk or bike

Walking or biking is also good for adults. It narrows the waistline and widens the wallet.

The way you maintain your car has a big impact on its gas performance.

11. Check for leaks

Before you take your car out, check the driveway for gas tank leaks. Even little ones can waste plenty of fuel over time.

“Gasoline evaporates you might not see a big pool of it but if you see some discoloration in the concrete you might have some, and yes if you're leaking gas you're leaking pennies and maybe dollars and that something to be fixed,” Csaba Csere, Editor-in-Chief for Car and Driver Magazine

A lubricated car runs much more efficiently.

12. Check your oil

And follow the carmakers' recommendations which you will find on your side door panel.

13. Energy-saving oil

Look for oil labeled energy saving. With computer-diagnostics, modern cars don't lend themselves to do it yourself tune ups, but you can:

14. Change air filter

Change your own air filter. Check it first, if the dust won't shake out cleanly, get a new one.

“If you don't have a good air filter it's going to result in terrible reductions in terms of mileage efficiency,” said Alan Steinberg, EPA Regional Administrator.

15. Seasonal tires

Seasons change and so should your tires. Make sure you're using the proper tire for winter and summer.

16. Inflate tires properly

And make sure your tires are inflated properly. It’s easy to do. Check the tire when its cold and compare that number to the recommended tire pressure. It will mean your car doesn't have to work as hard to get you where you want to go.

17. Junk out of trunk

Get the junk out of the trunk. No sense in dragging around blizzard gear all summer and adding weight to your vehicle.

18. Fill up when cool

Early morning or late evening. Cooler temperatures mean less vapor.

“From the environmental standpoint, it's better to fill up your tank in the cooler hours of the morning or the evening,” said Ray Werner, Chief of the Air Programs Group in New York, Environmental Protection Agency. “Gas is less volatile and won't evaporate quite so quickly and form ozone damage in the environment. So we recommend early morning or late evening.”

19. Get a light colored car

From a lighter colored car.

“So (if) you buy a lighter colored car it's going be a little bit cooler, the air conditioner won't have to work as hard, and you'll save gasoline,” said Robert Sinclair of the American Automobile Association.

20. Park in the shade

And regardless of the color, park in the shade.

“What happens is in a vehicle that's sitting out in the hot sun there is something called evaporative emissions,” said Sinclair. “You know, the fuel and the tank is expanding, it creates fumes that get out past the gas cap and go out into the atmosphere. That's why you see the bellows on gasoline pumps, for recovering that evaporative emissions.”

21. Don't top off gas

Don't top off your gas - it frequently winds up spilled on the road.

22. Tighten gas cap

Tighten your gas cap. It needs to contain both fuel and fumes. Most cars do not benefit from higher octane - higher priced gasoline.

23. Use correct grade fuel

Use the lowest grade recommended by your car maker. If you still prefer a richer blend - stop by the auto parts

24. Buy octane additive

Store and buy a bottle of octane. A little of this every few tank fulls will keep your car and your pocketbook smiling.

Air conditioning is practically standard on modern cars. Is there a way to keep cool for less? It depends. There are two strategies for air conditioning.

25. Slow speed: no air

Around town at slow speeds, turn the air off and roll down your window. On the highway, at speeds of 40 and over, open windows

26. Use air on highways

Create drag. Roll them up and use the air. Potential savings depend on many factors including how high and how long you run your air. Speaking of drag on the highway, about half your engine power is needed to overcome wind resistance. Avoid hauling

27. Avoid roof hauls

Things on your roof. Or check out some of the aerodynamic carriers. They look cool and will help minimize drag.

28. Avoid warm-ups

Avoid long warm-ups. Even on cold mornings, your car doesn't need more than a minute to get ready to go. Anything more and you're just burning up that expensive fuel.

Turn off before you turn on.

29. Turn off electronics

Starting your car with electronic devices, like the radio and air conditioning, turned off, will put less strain on your engine which translates to better gas mileage.

30. Use GPS

A moderately priced GPS unit will pay for itself in wasted time and wasted gas. It's perfect for the directionally challenged or those of us who are just too embarrassed to ask directions

31. Go the speed limit

When you drive, go the speed limit. It's calculated for maximum safety, but will reward you with maximum mileage. Count on getting more than 20 percent more mileage traveling at 55 than you would at 70 mph.

Dragging brakes are a total drag for your gas mileage.

32. Keep brakes adjusted

Your foot and hand brakes adjusted.

“If you're going down the road and you notice your car is drifting constantly to one side it probably means you've got a break drag on the car,” said Csere.

33. Drive evenly

Drive evenly with a steady foot. Don't jiggle the accelerator. Quick starts - are a quick way to the poorhouse. They burn plenty of gas.

34. Avoid hard stops

Panic or hard stops will also cost you. Try to anticipate stop signs and traffic lights.

“If you know you're going to be stopping half a block down take your foot off early and coast a little bit,” said Csere. “Because all that energy you’re putting in to speed you’re going to waste when you step on the brake.”

35. Avoid idling

An idle mind may be the devil's workshop. And an idling car isn't much better.

“But when you are idling, you are burning fuel,” said Sinclair. “We do recommend that you don't idle your car for more than thirty seconds and just to give you an idea of how much gas is used when you're idling, for every hour you're sitting at idle, you're probably burning a gallon of gasoline.”

The old belief about using more gas to restart a car than leaving it idle, is just that, an old belief. It’s rendered obsolete by modern starters. With modern fuel injection and electronic ignitions deliver consistent amounts of fuel.

36. Don't rev engine

Revving your engines impresses no one. What it will cost to replace your cylinders and gas could go to a truly impressive dinner date.

37. Use right foot only

To avoid riding the brake and wasting gas, use your right foot to control both pedals.

38. Shift to high gear

Shift into high gear as soon as possible. Get there by lifting a your foot from the accelerator a tiny bit early.

39. Don't weave

The more you weave the more gas your burn. Keep your wheel still.

“Adjusting your speed to get in and out and those constant throttle motions hurt you and there's probably a little bit of drag from constantly turning like that so you know you're better off picking a lane and staying in it, doesn't meant don't change at all but one lane change in miles is a whole lot better than 10," said Csere.

40. Don't accelerate up hill

Don’t accelerate up a hill. When approaching it, build up speed before the incline then maintain on the way up - and of course you can coast down.

41. Follow traffic reports

It’s practically impossible to scan the radio without hitting a traffic report. Use them to avoid jams and other delays.

42. Park and walk

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!

With gas prices still on the rise, how do you make the system work for you?

Don't drive around shopping for gas. It's counterproductive.

43. Gasbuddy.com

A website called gas buddy will tell you where the deals are before you leave the house. Prices are statistically the cheapest on Wednesdays, but this

44. Find discount gas days

Is only statistically true over a large number of days. It won't be true every week. Check nearby service stations to see if they offer discounts any particular days.

45. Fill up before holiday

Also, getting a fill-up three days before a holiday will help you save on the price bump.

46. Wait until near empty

Don't fill until near empty. If you do this, it can extend your gas because you are hauling a lighter load as the tank nears empty. On cold days, however, you may not want to do this. Running a car with less fuel can be harder on the fuel pump life.

And speaking of lighter:

47. Find credit card discounts

Some credit cards offer gas savings when you use the card for purchases. This works in much the same way that some credit card companies give you frequent flyer miles when you use their card for purchases.

48. Member benefits

Some gas stations offer membership benefits. There are also department and grocery stores that give discounts at the fuel pump when you use their store membership cards.

In blind tests, motorists can hardly find a difference between:

49. Brand difference

Brands of gas. You could be paying more for next to nothing.

“They're using the same refineries, they're using the same pipelines to transport the fuel,” said Sinclair. “They're using the same trucks to transport the fuel. And the federal government has standards that gasoline must achieve in order for it to be sold as a motor fuel. So the old idea that one brand of gasoline might be better than another, is really something that's a myth these days.”

50. Carpooling

Is carpooling the new way to meet your life partner? No, but it can save you enough to go on several dates.

And finally...

51. Public transportation

Look into public transportation. What better time than when gas prices are high, to re-investigate whether there's a train or bus that is on your route to work and can save you money.

“I'll tell you the best way of avoiding pollution and saving money in terms of driving, I got it right in my pocket,” said Steinberg. “New York has the best mass transit systems in the country. So don't drive if you don't have to.”

Alot of this is common sense stuff, but it was still interesting.


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