4 Ways to Save on Gas that Really Work

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The following guest post comes to us from Jessica Bosari. Jessica writes for CarInsuranceQuotesComparison.com. The site helps consumers compare car insurance companies with tips, information, and advice.

4 Ways to Save on Gas that Really Work

As gas prices continue to rise, it seems that almost every website has new tips and tricks for how to save gasoline. However, not all of those tips are really accurate or useful. The following suggestions come directly from fueleconomy.gov, a trusted federal website designed to help consumers improve their gas mileage. These tips have been tested through government research, so you can feel confident that they will work.

1. Avoid Idling for Long Periods of Time

Idling in your car can use up more gasoline than actually driving on the road. If you idle for more than 10 seconds, you will use more gas than it takes to restart the car. When you idle with the air conditioner running, you burn fuel even faster.

Remember to shut your car off if it will be in one place for more than a few seconds. Restarting the vehicle several times can cause wear and tear on your starter, but it will save you money on gasoline. If you must idle, turn off the air conditioning until the car is in motion once more.

2. Keep Your Tires Properly Inflated

Driving with tires that do not have the right pressure can cost you up to 3% more in gasoline consumption. Manufacturers place a sticker on the inside of the driver’s door that tells you how much pressure your tires should hold under normal operating conditions. The proper inflation number should also be printed on the side of each tire.

If the air hose that you are using does not have a built in tire gauge, you can pick one up for a couple of dollars at any discount or automotive store. Keeping your tires properly inflated will save you money on gasoline and make your car safer to drive.

3. Find Alternatives for Your Daily Commute

Driving to and from work is how many people use the most gasoline. You can save money on your gas costs if you find an alternative to driving your own car even one day a week. Carpool with other employees who work in your building and live in your part of town. You can alternate drivers so that each of you only drives once or twice a week.

Look into your public transportation options to see if it would be feasible for you to take the bus or the train into work sometimes. If you live closer to work, you might be able to ride a bike or walk on nicer days. Driving less can also earn you a low-mileage discount.

4. Buy a More Fuel Efficient Vehicle

Auto manufacturers have realized that the driving public needs cars with better fuel mileage. Newer cars get much better gas mileage than cars that were produced just a few years ago. Choosing a car that gets better gas mileage will save you money on gas in just a few short weeks. If you find a car that gets 10mpg better than the car you are driving today, you could save almost $1,000 in the first year of driving the new car. The website fueleconomy.gov provides detailed mileage information for cars that were produced between 1984 and 2012.

How about you all? What strategies do you use to save on fuel? So far, have the higher fuel prices changed your driving behavior at all? If not, what price would gas need to be before you REALLY made serious changes to your driving patterns? 

Share your experiences by commenting below!

Jacob’s Thoughts – Listed below are my random thoughts as I was reading this article.

  • @ Avoiding idling to save gas – I didn’t know about this one. However, it does make sense that it would be this way.
    • Another reason to avoid idling is because frequent idling can be hard on your car’s motor (as well as burning gas quickly!).
  • @ Keeping your tires properly inflated – I have to admit that I am guilty of not airing up my tires as often as I should. Ideally, I would like to check my tire air pressure before each drive I take that is longer than 2 hours. However, I often forget.
    • Not only can having low air pressure in your tires cost you more in gas, but it can also cause the tires to overheat and blow out if you go fast enough. Best to avoid this situation!
  • @ Alternatives to daily commute – Although it would be nice if everyone were able to either bike or walk to work like people do in Europe, for most areas of the United States (maybe with the exception of big cities), this simply is not possible. 
    • Why is this you might ask? Simple. In the US, the economy and city structure (for better or worse) is built upon the idea that everyone has a car.
    • Additionally, two trends are becoming “the norm” in the US. First, in a family, it is most common to find the situation where both parents work. Since both parents work, it is tough to position the family geographically close to both persons’ jobs. Second, it is becoming more and more prevalent for an individual to change jobs upwards of 5-10 times during a career. Because of all of this change, it is nearly impossible to be able to move your family each time, often increasing the length of one’s commute.
  • @ Buying a more fuel efficient car – I definitely agree that newer cars are much more fuel efficient than older ones. However, there are two important things to consider before jumping in to buying a new car..
    • First, new cars can depreciate up to 30% in value by the mere act of driving the car off of the new car lot. As I discovered in my analysis last year in the post, Buying a New Car vs. a Used Car, new cars typically lose about 20% of their value in the first year of ownership and about 65% of their value in 5 years. Because of this steep depreciation curve that occurs with new cars, the amount of money saved by having a newer, more fuel-efficient car may not be financially justified overall vs. a used one. Always remember to do your homework and check this math out before buying!
    • Second, it is tempting in this day and age to want to buy a “green” hybrid car (such as a Prius, etc) due to the savings in gas you will achieve and the lower environmental footprint. However, as we saw in the post, Does Being Green Make Economic Sense – Green and Hybrid Vehicles, these hybrid “green” cars come at a very high premium, and it can take up to 7 years to break even on your initial purchase from the fuel savings you experience.

***Photo courtesy of http://www.flickr.com/photos/schill/2570639630/sizes/l/in/photostream/


  1. I will often avoid the drive through at the bank or fast food to go in so that I am not idling in line for a long time if it is crowded. I figure I save gas, get some exercise, and help the ozone.
    My recent post Emergency Fund FAIL!

    • Nice idea cashflowmantra! I enjoy going in to a store vs. the drive through if I can just because it is a little less awkward to deal with someone face-to-face instead of being in a car! haha
      My recent post Tour de Personal Finance, Stage 3, Posts 27-30

  2. I have been using public transportation to get to work throughout my career. This has allowed our family of four to live with only one car most of the time, cutting our transportation expenses dramatically.
    My recent post Average Retirement Savings Statistics By Age

    • Thanks for sharing Dave! Do you live in a bigger city? I would like to take the bus to where I work, but the line that goes by my house doesn't connect with where I need to go.
      My recent post Tour de Personal Finance, Stage 3, Posts 27-30

  3. Don't forget maintenance such as tune ups and changing filters. These small things also affect gas mileage.
    My recent post Real-time Ridesharing Is Here

    • Good tip Krantcents! I often am amazed at how well my car “feels” after getting a tune-up/oil change! The engine just seems to be running smoother!
      My recent post Tour de Personal Finance, Stage 3, Posts 27-30

  4. I don't live in a city with good public transit, so I have to rely on good old-fashioned buying a fuel-efficient vehicle and keeping my tires inflated for getting good gas mileage! I'm not so on-top-of checking my tire pressure. I like the strategy of buying an efficient vehicle: its an action I only need to do once, and can then forget about.

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