Last Updated on February 20, 2016
Gas is on its way back up again, and so you might be feeling the pinch when filling up your tank each week. Luckily, there are some tips you can follow to save on fuel and fill up for less. Take a peek below at 5 tips to save on fuel so you can get to where you need to go without breaking the bank.
1. Rewards Programs
Some gas stations allow you to sign up as a member and earn pennies off per litre/gallon. You can also score deals on in store purchases, so check with your favourite gas station to see if they offer a rewards program such as this. It is like getting rewarded to buy what you already would buy anyway. There are also many credit cards that offer fuel rewards meaning you could rack up huge savings at the pump if you use your credit card wisely.
2. Utilize your GPS.
Utilize your GPS system when driving so you can always be sure you are taking the shortest route. This is especially wise if you are unsure about where you are driving. This way, no gas is wasted while you drive around aimlessly trying to find your location. Some GPS systems can route you around traffic which of course provides even more savings.
3. Compare Gas Prices
There are many gas apps out there that can help you find the best price of gas right in your own town. Gas Buddy and other apps are easy to download and many are free. Download one of these apps and make the habit of checking it before you fill up en route. Avoid going out of your way to get cheap gas though as this can defeat the purpose. You will typically find cheaper gas in rural areas as well as near Costco locations as their competitors tend to lower their prices to lure in or keep more customers.
4. Fuel Efficient Driving
Fuel-efficient driving can save not only money but the environment as well. Avoid accelerating too quickly, maintain a steady speed as much as possible, avoid idling for more than 30 seconds, try to anticipate traffic, avoid braking by coasting to a stop. You will also want to avoid speeding and follow the speed limit. Most cars, SUVs and trucks have a “sweet spot” that tends to be between 50-100 km/hr (31 – 62 mph) where your engine burns fuel the most efficiently. Try using cruise control on the highway to help you stay at a consistent speed. Driving following these particular rules will also help you avoid speeding tickets, auto-body repairs, insurance hikes and unnecessary wear and tear on your vehicle. Bonus!
5. Consider Alternatives
Distance permitting, leave the car at home and walk or ride your bike. Not only will this save on gas, but you will also receive health benefits such as potentially reducing your risk of heart disease! Another option for longer and daily commutes is to join or start a carpool if you can. This has the added benefit of shortening your commute time as you will be able to use High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) lanes.
6. Regular Maintenance
Following a proper maintenance schedule can help you avoid poor fuel economy related to dirty air filters, low fluid levels, old spark plugs or tires not aligned properly or not inflated to the correct pressure.
7. Lighten Your Load
Clean out your trunk of anything you don’t need to improve gas mileage. Only carry around your golf clubs or giant stroller as needed. When on road trips pack as light as possible. Every hundred pounds in weight equals a reduction in fuel economy of 1 to 2%.
8. Reduce your Drag & A/C Usage
Avoid keeping roof storage, bike racks or ski racks on the car unless needed. They can cause wind drag which increases the load on your engine and reduces fuel economy. If you drive a truck, be sure to leave the tailgate up when driving highway speeds to avoid the turbulence and wind drag associated with a lowered tail gate.
You can also avoid wind drag by being mindful of when you leave your windows down and when you use your A/C. For best fuel economy rely on your windows for in-town/low speed driving and switch to the a/c when you are going highway speeds. The A/C does increase the load on your engine so only use as needed on a low, slightly cool setting rather than icy cold and try to use the vent setting as much as you possibly can.Whenever possible in the summer, try to park in the shade to decrease the amount of gas that evaporates from the heat and the A/C won’t need to work as hard to cool down the interior.
In addition, parking in the shade increases fuel economy since not as much gas will evaporate when the car is out of the sun. Air conditioning won’t need to work as hard to cool down the interior.
9. Don’t Buy Premium Fuel
If your car does not require or recommend premium gas, then it will do nothing to increase performance of your car as it wasn’t designed for it, so don’t waste your money. There is no compelling reason to buy premium gas if the factory does not recommend it and any small performance gain will be less than the extra cost. However, if your car is designed for premium fuel you need to buy premium fuel or you can expect to see a drop in performance equal to what you save at the pump.
10. Check Your Gas Cap
Broken or missing gas caps can cause escaping fumes that not only hurt fuel economy but release pollution into the air. Avoiding air pollution and improving fuel mileage really can be as easy as replacing a bad gas cap.
11. Trade in for a Fuel-efficient Vehicle
Not everyone can afford a new car, but trading in for a modern, fuel-efficient vehicle is one of the best ways to save money on fuel. You may want to consider a hybrid or even an electric car – over a lifetime a hybrid car can will use half the fuel of a traditional gasoline burning car. With prices on the rise again, a fuel-efficient vehicle is definitely the way to go.
When you give these tips a try, you can get more gas for your buck and go a little further for less. Give them a try!