How to Save Money on Gas
Gas prices got you down? Don't fret. From fuel-efficient driving tips to cash-back rewards apps, there are plenty of ways to fuel up for less. Get ready to pump up your savings with these simple and savvy strategies.
Save at the Pump
The most obvious way to save money on fuel is to choose the right type of gas and take advantage of cash back programs.
1. Use a Gas Price App
Use a gas price app like Upside. Upside is a mobile app that offers discounts on gas at participating gas stations. The app also shows the gas prices around you so you can compare and find the best deal.
Link your credit or debit card to your Upside account and search for participating gas stations near your current location, and the app will guide you through the rest. When you make a gas purchase at a participating station, you earn up to 25 cents a gallon cash-back rewards, which you can redeem for gift cards or cash out through PayPal or a bank account.
When you register for Upside, you can use this promo code to get an additional discount of 15 cents per gallon on your first fill-up, in addition to any regular discounts:
Upside Promo Code: 46FDX7R
Get the Upside App.
2. Buy the Right Fuel
Many people believe that using premium gasoline in their vehicle will lead to increased fuel efficiency, better gas mileage, and even extend the life of their engine. The truth is that using premium gas when the manufacturer recommends regular gasoline is a waste of money without benefit for the vehicle.
Using premium gasoline in a vehicle designed to run on regular gasoline will not improve its performance or fuel efficiency. It may even decrease fuel efficiency because premium gasoline contains more energy than regular gasoline, and the engine may not be able to fully utilize it. By sticking to the recommended octane level in your owner's manual, you can be sure that you are using the fuel best suited for your vehicle and save money.
Saving While Driving
The way you drive your vehicle directly impacts its fuel consumption. You can significantly reduce your fuel consumption by altering your driving behavior and reducing the weight your car has to carry.
1. Slow and Steady Wins the Race
Aggressive driving, which includes behaviors such as speeding, rapid acceleration and braking, can have a significant impact on a vehicle's fuel efficiency. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, this type of driving can lower gas mileage by anywhere from 10% to 40% in stop-and-go traffic and 15% to 30% at highway speeds.
2. Watch Your Speed
Each car model has its own range of speeds where its fuel economy is at its best. But gas mileage typically decreases rapidly at speeds above 50 miles per hour for all models. Slowing down can improve fuel efficiency and save 7%-14% on gas usage.
3. Avoid Hauling Cargo on Your Roof
Hauling cargo on the roof of your vehicle may seem like a convenient solution for carrying extra gear. However, it can have a significant impact on your fuel economy. The reason for this has to do with aerodynamic drag. Cargo on the roof of your vehicle creates additional wind resistance, which can cause your car to work harder to maintain its speed and increase your car's fuel economy consumption.
A large roof-top cargo box can reduce fuel economy by around 2% to 8% in city driving, 6% to 17% on the highway, and 10% to 25% at interstate speeds.
Don't use roof racks or roof-top cargo boxes unless you must, and try to pack your gear inside the car. Rear-mount cargo boxes or trays reduce fuel economy to a lesser extent than roof-mounted cargo carriers, typically only 1% to 2% in city driving and 1% to 5% on the highway. Keep that in mind if you plan to expand the cargo capacity of your car.
4. Remove Excess Weight
However, even if you carry your cargo inside your car - the weight of items still impacts your car's fuel economy. An extra 100 pounds in your vehicle could reduce your miles per gallon by about 1%. Avoid keeping unnecessary items in your car, particularly if you have a smaller vehicle. It's time to unload the trunk after the camping trip you took two months ago.
5. Maintain Proper Tire Inflation
Maintaining proper tire pressure is an often-overlooked aspect of vehicle maintenance that can have a significant impact on your gas mileage. Under-inflated tires can increase the drag and make the engine work harder, resulting in lower gas mileage. Properly inflated car tires can improve fuel efficiency by reducing the rolling resistance of the tires on the road.
If you don't have a tire pump, consider purchasing one, or take advantage of the free air pumps available at most gas stations to ensure that your car tires are properly inflated and operating at their best. You can find the recommended tire pressure for your vehicle in the owner's manual or on a sticker located on the driver's side door jamb.