5 Ways To Start Saving Money On Gas Instantly
Yikes! It finally happened to me. I pulled up to the gas pump on Friday night and was hit with the same kind of shock millions of Americans have already faced over the course of the last few weeks—regular gas prices were more than $4 a gallon! I actually wrote about the likelihood of this happening a few months back, but I was hoping I’d be wrong when I put it together. I was hoping $4—and even $5!—for a gallon of gas wasn’t actually going to happen this summer and all the “experts” who were warning us about it were just being extra cautious with their predictions.
And yet, here we are. Summer’s about to start and gas prices have made it just about impossible to go anywhere without checking your bank balance first. Whether you drive a tiny Smart car or an oversize SUV, you’re going to have to spend a lot of money this summer to keep your ride on the road. So in an effort to help you—and, to be honest, me!—out, I did a little research to find five ways to start saving money on gas immediately. Because while the price of crude oil did come crashing down late last week and gave me at least a little hope gas prices will stop rising sometime soon, experts are predicting there’s a good chance it won’t. And this time, I definitely believe them.
1. Stop driving so often.
This seems simple enough, right? But I’m as guilty as anyone of not heeding this advice. If you want to save a little money on gas, try not using your car by any means necessary. Walk, catch the bus, ask someone else for a lift if you’re headed in the same direction (sucker!), or find some other alternate mode of transportation. Think about it like this: Every time you go to the mall, head to the park, or make a trip across town to hang out with your friends, you’re essentially paying $4. And that will add up quickly if you don’t cut down on making at least a few of those trips.
2. Shop around and find the best price of gas in your area.
Again, this seems really simple, but you’d be surprised how often people just go to the gas station closest to their house for gas. There are plenty of GPS devices, smart phone apps, and web sites out there that will help you price shop for gas (GasBuddy is our favorite). Now, use them! I just found out I could be saving $4 every time I fill up my tank by going to a station that’s actually closer to my house than the one I usually go to. So it’s worth giving it a shot.
3. Stop driving like a maniac.
Everyone is in such a rush these days. And if you’re one of those people, there’s a good chance you’re wasting gas every time you get in the car. The slower you go, the less gas you use while you’re driving. We’re not saying you should go below the speed limit; we’re just saying you don’t have to go 25MPH over the speed limit while honking your horn and passing people all over the place. It’ll help keep your blood pressure and the amount of money you spend at the pump down.
4. Check to make sure your tires are inflated properly.
Again, this isn’t rocket science, people! Bend down and see how much air is supposed to be in your tires. Then, take your car to a gas station and spend a couple quarters to fill your tires up to the proper level. It takes five minutes and it could make your car more fuel efficient than it already is. Every little bit helps and this is just about the smallest thing you can do to make sure you’re getting the most out of a gallon of gas.
5. Plan out every single trip that you plan to make this summer.
Whether you’re driving across the country or driving down the street to grab a gallon of milk, make sure you have a plan when you drive today. Don’t take a route that’s unnecessarily long. Don’t take the one that takes you by your crush’s crib. Don’t take the scenic route. And don’t just wing it and decide to take a Sunday afternoon drive all around town, if you don’t really have to. Every minute that you spend in your car in costing you money. And when you think about it like that, you’ll be much more efficient with your time, which will in turn save gas and save you money. Gas prices might not be going down any time soon, but that doesn’t mean you can’t save money on fueling up these days. Just make sure you follow these tips and you’ll make it through the summer without putting a giant dent in your pocketbook.