Just because gas prices are plummeting doesn’t mean you shouldn’t optimize your purchase. There are many ways to save on gas beyond those gas-saving apps that help you pinpoint the cheapest filling station around. Plus, also remember that with many things you get what you pay for: There’s a collection of filling stations (including the “biggies” like Chevron, Shell, 76, etc.) that are committed to providing better, more refined fuel which is why they cost more. This is a must for those with collector cars, luxury cars, and others who want to protect the integrity of their investment.
However, where you can really save on gas comes well after you’ve paid for it. Already, 2015 has started off with the cheapest gas prices in recent history, so keep that ball rolling. Once you’ve filled up, follow these tips to make your gas last as long as possible. As an added bonus, many of these tips will also help make you a better driver:
1. Let bigger cars do the tough work
It’s kind of like how a flock of birds take turn tackling the head wind: Your car doesn’t have to work as hard if there’s another, bigger vehicle taking the headwind. Drive behind larger vehicles, allowing one car space of room per 10 mph, and your gas will last longer. However, if you don’t provide enough buffer room, you’re signing up for tailgating tickets, rock chips, and wearing out your brakes. To make this tip work, you need the perfect amount of buffering.
2. Give your brakes a break
The more often you use your breaks, and the heavier your foot, the more gas you’ll waste. Lightly tapping the brakes to slow down is preferable to having a lead brake foot. Know the signs of worn out brakes, and make sure they’re checked at least once a year, but also do your part to preserve them. For those with a stick shift, coast in neutral instead of braking and shifting to optimize your fuel usage.
3. Follow the speed limit
This might not be a “crazy” tip, but most people regularly speed thinking it’s doing them a favor (by getting them to a destination earlier). However, speed limits are there for a reason and it’s not all about safety. The maximum speed is posted because that’s what you can drive without having to constantly slam on the brakes or take wild turns. Follow the speed limit and you’ll save on gas.
4. Consolidate your trips
Many people with a car take full advantage of this luxury. However, obviously the less you drive the more gas you’ll save. Spend a month tracking your driving (perhaps with an app) and see just how much time you actually waste behind the wheel and in traffic. Everyone wants more time and more money, and you can get both if you consolidate your trips. If you really want to save, challenge yourself to taking public transportation or walking once per week.
5. Get your ride maintained
Your car can only do so much when it comes to working at optimal condition. A car should get a maintenance check annually or bi-annually. If you skip one, you may end up paying much more in repairs, gas, and replacements down the road. Do your homework and find a reputable mechanic who has the same goal as you: To make sure your ride is functioning the best it can be.
It’s easy to not optimize your gas during a time when bottom barrel prices are rampant. However, if you really want to save, combine low gas prices with gas saving moves.