DIY Friday: Simple Strategies to Save on Gasoline
Yes, we all enjoy running down the street to catch Mister Softee, but that’s not what we’re hinting at. We’ll give you another chance.
What’s that? Road trips, you say? Ding ding ding! With the cost of airfare going nowhere but up, many families are opting to drive to their summer destinations. It takes patience but anyone can overcome the irritations that typically accompany the family road trip. Screaming kids can be silenced with a few car games, aching muscles can be soothed with frequent stops to walk around, and that peculiar, stagnant smell can be avoided if you just leave your shoes on.
There is one annoyance that requires a bit more effort to overcome: the dreaded cost of gasoline. The price per gallon is nearing the $4 mark in several areas and let’s face it, ain’t nobody got time fo that! But with these 10 tips, you’ll be cruising down I-90 with a grin on your face and a wad of cash in your wallet.
1. Plan ahead
Before you embark on your journey, take a quick scan of the internet. Websites like GiftCardGranny.com sometimes offer gas cards for stations like Shell, Mobil, and Gulf at a discounted rate.
2. Drive like a normal person
I hate to break it to you, but you’ll probably never be in the Daytona 500, so stop practicing. Most of your road trip with be highway driving, so set the cruise control at a solid 65 mph. It’s the simplest way to get the most gas mileage. Once you exit the interstate, remember to accelerate slowly and ease into your stops.
TIME reports that the best time to purchase gas is on Wednesday mornings between 8 a.m. and 10 a.m. Gas station owners typically check competitors’ prices between these hours. If prices are going up, they will raise theirs too, usually between 10 a.m. and noon. Additionally, prices are known to rise closer to the weekends, especially holiday weekends.
4. Use your resources
Your smart phone can be a portal to cheap gas prices. Apps like Gas Buddy, iGasUp, and AAA TripTik Mobile can help you locate which gas stations offer the best deals. That’s not all. There are also apps that can give you real-time traffic updates so you can steer clear of any congested areas and avoid idling. Check out Waze or Google Maps Navigation for this helpful tool.
5. Become a coupon queen (or king!)
Check to see if your local supermarket offers a gas rewards programs. Chains like Winn-Dixie, Safeway, Tops, and Kroger award points for every dollar spent in their store. Once you reach a certain amount of points, you’ll be able to cash them in for discounted gas. (Ten cents a gallon can really add up!)
6. Don’t be wasteful
Did you know that idling for over 10 seconds consumes more fuel that shutting off your engine and restarting it? Idling is one of the largest wastes when it comes to fuel consumption. Now I’m not saying it’s smart to shut your car off at every red light, but if you’re waiting outside for your kids to lose interest in the gumball machine at the rest stop, it’s a good idea to turn it off. They could be a while.
7. Check before you swipe
Because of outlandish processing fees, some gas stations will charge a premium if you choose to pay with your credit card. Look for gas stations that charge the same amount no matter which method of payment you use.
8. Pump it up
Mythbusters recorded an episode where they tested the theory that states underinflated tires use more gas than properly inflated tires. Driving around a course with 15 percent less air than what’s recommended, they found that the car consumed 1.2 percent more fuel because there was more surface area that was contacting the road. Their advice? “Stick with the proper tire pressure.”
9. Choose wisely
Where you choose to fill up can have an impact on how much you pay. It’s best to drive right past those convenient gas stations on the highway since they could charge up to 15 cents more per gallon. Get off at the next exit and look around for another station.
10. Lose the junk in your trunk
One last thing before you head out: make sure to get rid of any unnecessary items that are taking up space in your car. And don’t over pack the car either. An extra 250 pounds can require an extra mile per gallon of gasoline.
You’ve been equipped with the knowledge you need to save. Now go and dominate that road trip!
From everyone at YourEnergyBlog, enjoy your savings (and your weekend)!
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