It's no secret that gas prices have been rising in recent months. The average price for a gallon of regular unleaded gasoline recently topped $6 in California, with prices rising to over $7 at a handful of stations in the Golden State.
One report found that while the average household spent the equivalent of $2,800 on gas in 2021, that number is on track to jump to $5,000 this year.
How can you offset these rising gas prices and keep more money in your bank account? The simplest solution is to use less gas. But if that is not an option, there are a number of ways to increase your car's fuel efficiency and make a tank of gas last longer.
Here are 15 tips to help you get the most out of your gas.
Keep your tires inflated to the proper pressure
Tires that are not properly inflated may decrease fuel efficiency, tire longevity, and performance. Since tires lose about 1 psi a month, check your tire pressure regularly.
Typically, you can find the recommended tire pressure on your car’s door jamb sticker.
Sudden starts and stops may decrease fuel economy. Try to avoid rapid acceleration and braking. Instead, anticipate traffic patterns and brake gently when approaching a stop.
The transmission, engine, brakes, and tires benefit from good cornering, smooth acceleration, and avoiding sudden stops.
Use cruise control
Cruise control helps you maintain a steady speed and improves fuel efficiency when driving on the highway. Plus, it may make for a more relaxing drive and keep you away from speeding tickets.
Remove excess weight from your car
Extra pounds in your car may decrease fuel efficiency. If you're carrying around unnecessary items in your trunk, clear them out. For example, remove golf clubs, camping gear, or winter clothes if you don't need them.
Combine errands into one trip
Every time you start your car, you use gas. Combining multiple errands into one trip will likely reduce fuel use and costs. Instead of making separate trips to the grocery store, post office, and bank, try to do them all on one trip.
Remove roof racks when you're not using them
More than half of the engine's power combats aerodynamic drag at highway speeds. So, if you have a roof rack or box that you're not using, remove it. The less wind resistance your car has to fight, the more fuel-efficient it might be.
Avoid rush hour traffic
If possible, try to avoid driving during rush hour. The constant starts and stops use more gas and may add time (and stress) to your commute. If you can’t avoid rush hour, see if there's an alternate route that may help you avoid the worst of the traffic.
Use the AC sparingly
The air conditioner is one of the biggest gas guzzlers in your car. If you can stand the heat, turn off the AC and open the windows instead. You may save gas and get some fresh air at the same time.
Turn off the engine when you're stopped
If you're going to be stopped for more than a minute or two, it's more efficient to turn off your engine than to let it idle. If you're waiting in line at the bank or picking up someone from school, kill the engine until you're ready to go.
Change your motor oil regularly
Changing your car's oil regularly may boost its gas mileage and provide some relief from gas prices. The lubrication of metal components improves engine efficiency.
Use a credit card that gives you gas rewards
If you're going to buy gas anyway, you might as well get rewarded for it. There are several credit cards that offer gas rebates. So, find the best gas credit card and start saving on your trips to the pump.
Stop your speeding habit
The faster you're going, the more fuel you'll use. Try to stick to the speed limit or drive a bit below the posted limit when possible. You'll save money on gas and reduce your risk of getting into an accident.
Replace your air filter
A dirty air filter may decrease fuel efficiency. Besides affecting your gas mileage, it may also affect your engine's performance. If it's been a while since you replaced your air filter, it might be time to do so. You may usually find replacement air filters at your local auto parts store.
Use premium gas only if your car requires it
Using premium gas when your car doesn't require it is a waste of money. Unless your car's manufacturer recommends using premium gas, stick with the cheaper stuff.
Shop around for the best gas prices
Like anything else, gas prices vary depending on where you shop. If you're looking to save at the gas pump, it's worth finding the station with the lowest prices. You may use apps like GasBuddy to find the best deals in your area.
By following these tips, you may make a tank of gas last longer. Using less gas also helps the environment. The average passenger vehicle emits about 4.6 metric tons of carbon dioxide annually. By reducing gas consumption, you also make a positive impact on the environment and your money stress.
Remember, even slight changes may make a big difference in fuel efficiency. Start with one or two of these tips and see how much you save.