7 Ways to Save Money Driving

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Today’s guest post comes to us from Alban. Alban is a personal finance writer at Home Loan Finder, a free home loan comparison website. Click on his website to find out more!

7 Ways to Save Money Driving

It can seem that gas stations have us by the fuel caps the way prices can fluctuate from day to day and week to week. While there is no getting around our need to fill up, you can put more time between each visit to the gas station, and save money when driving with just seven steps which are easy to implement in your life. 

1 – Choosing the car

You may not see a boost in your savings account balance if you go out and upgrade your car when you weren’t planning to, or couldn’t afford to. However if you’re in the market for a new vehicle, you should pay as much attention to its fuel consumption as to the number of seats and whether you like the color. 

When you are comparing a new car, look for the fuel consumption rating. This will tell you how many litres/gallons of fuel are used per 100 kilometres so you can compare each vehicle across a level playing field. This fuel consumption figure will be an average of the consumption during city driving, and the consumption during country or suburban driving, therefore make sure to compare the consumption which relates to the type of driving you’ll be doing most. 

2 – Regularly servicing your car

New or old, every vehicle can be made more fuel efficient through regular servicing. With clean filters and regular oil changes your vehicle will run more efficiently and use less fuel, you’re also able to pick up on any maintenance issues and rectify wear and tear of parts which can make your car have to work harder. 

At your periodic services, your mechanic should also rotate and check your tires. Tires with a good tread, and at the right pressure will ensure your car uses fuel efficiently when you’re on the road. 

3 – Save your driving habits

Even driving the most fuel efficient car erratically can use excessive amounts of fuel, and to save money when driving aim to drive in a more measured way. For example, quick acceleration from the lights gains you little ground even if you feel speedy, and will cause a sudden and significant surge from your fuel tank too. Driving above the speed limit also makes your car work harder to go faster in most cases, as can rapid changes in speed if you speed up and slow down repeatedly to try and fit through a break in traffic. 

Instead, use your cruise control wherever you can to maintain a constant speed and conserve fuel. If you drive a manual, make sure you change gears at the correct rpm for each gear range, rather than maxing out the lower gears. 

4 – Change your type of fuel

Gasoline is one of the most expensive types of fuels you can be putting into your car, unfortunately a diesel vehicle or a gas conversion can be just as costly as filling your tank every second day. Therefore, before you consider buying a diesel car to make your fuel consumption more efficient, or converting to gas to pay less per litre, look at the savings you would make from the conversion, and whether they would be outweighed by the cost of the fuel change. If you do a lot of driving then the cost could be outweighed fairly quickly, but if you only drive around the city, it could be some time before you break even. 

5 – Plan your drives

If you can do more than one thing each time you’re out in the car, you can save another trip at another time. For example if you return a video at the video store around the corner from your child’s school on the way to pick them up in the afternoon, you’re saving the fuel of another car trip, to almost the same destination. 

Planning your trips in this way does require you to be more organized. Therefore, always make sure to take a shopping list to the supermarket, so you don’t have to make return trips for forgotten items. You can aim to car pool, picking up other children in your child’s class on the way to school, and saving when their parents drop your child home. Also make sure to plan your trips using a GPS system or maps, to save time in getting lost, and potentially travelling further, or retracing your steps. 

6 – Get smart with your air-conditioner use

We all know our cars use more fuel when we have the air-conditioner running, and you don’t have to melt on hot days just to save a little in fuel money. Instead, just be aware that when you are driving around 60 km/h it is more fuel efficient to have the windows down to cool off. However, if you are travelling faster than 60 km/h it is more fuel efficient to roll the windows up and use the air-conditioning due to the reduced wind drag. 

7 – There’s an app for that

If all of this fuel watching and habit changing seems like a lot to remember when you should have your eyes on the road and your mind focussed on driving, then your iPhone can help. There are several apps available which can help you drive more efficiently, and save money on fuel.
  • GasBag. The GasBag app keeps track of fuel prices and will be able to find the cheapest fuel station, the shortest distance from you, so you don’t use up those fuel savings in getting to the pump. GasBag also has a log book function which allows you to track each time you fill up, and the mileage you are getting.
  • EcoDriveEd. The EcoDriveEd app actually teaches you how to drive more fuel efficiently. The app uses your iPhone’s built in accelerometer to teach you driving techniques which will reduce your emissions and help you save on fuel costs. You will even receive real time feedback from the training programs, so you can adjust your habits as you drive. 

How about you all? What techniques do you use to save money on the road or with your car? 

Share your experiences by commenting below!

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***Photo courtesy of http://www.thedailygreen.com/cm/thedailygreen/images/car-save-gas-2-lg.jpg

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