With the continuing international conflicts in the Middle East, gas prices have been rising. This has resulted in much frustration among car drivers, especially since costs are already high at the pump. I am among those who feel the pinch of gas price increases, as I have to fill up my car on average once per week during the winter due to my commutes to the ski slopes.

(Hey, it’s my way of embracing winter.)

Fortunately for me, the rest of the year is really not so bad. I don’t have to venture too far since I work out of home and have to fill up my car only about once or twice per month. But. of course, I recognize that many people out there still need to do daily commutes in their cars. Today I’ll briefly outline what I do to try and keep my gas costs as low as possible.

Possible Gas Savings for Your Car

  1. Don’t speed. Speeding uses more gas. Use cruise control on highways to limit how fast you drive, which saves even more.
  2. Don’t idle your engine. I still see many cars out there stopped at a driveway or parking lot waiting with the engine on. When drivers idle, gas is being wasted. Many municipalities have actually banned idling for environmental reasons.
  3. Avoid rush hours. Getting stuck in rush hour traffic is much like idling, so avoid driving during these hours whenever possible. See if you can commute before or after rush hours.
  4. Keep tires properly inflated. Under-inflated tires will also use excess gas. It’s recommended that you check tire pressure once per month–  and maybe even more during the winter when tires tend to lose more air in colder temperatures.
  5. Keep the engine maintained. In addition to tires, keep your engine well maintained with regular oil changes and other recommended service. Engines that are not properly maintained use more gas.
  6. Combine errands. I try to combine different errands so that I don’t have to get into my car for just one single thing. I’ll try to do my grocery shopping, banking and trips to the post office all on one single outing rather than take three separate drives.
  7. Take public transit. If I have to go downtown for whatever reason, I’ll try to take public transit instead of the car. Driving downtown is a hassle since it’s often stop-and-go traffic and the possibility of being stuck during rush hours is very real. Don’t forget that parking charges are often horrendous too.
  8. Get a fuel efficient car. Okay, I’m going to be a bit guilty on this since my Mustang is not exactly the most fuel efficient vehicle — but at least I have the 6-cylinder version rather than the overpowered 8-cylinder GT model. That one really gobbles up gas.
  9. Walk. For closer destinations, I’ll even walk instead of getting into my car. It’s also healthier.

A Tip for Home Gas Users…

When it comes to thermostats and showers, turn down the thermostat when not at home and take shorter hot showers. Wash your laundry in cold water whenever possible.

Conclusion

Long gone are the days when just putting in $5 of gas can get you around in a car for a night. We all have to deal with higher gas prices in some way or another. Each little bit of savings is a success — and little successes do add up. Hopefully, these tips will help you get some gas savings this year.

What do you do to save on gas? Let me know in the comments below.

(Photo credit: Rising Gas Prices via Shutterstock)

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