Gas prices have been taking a bite out of all our wallets. If the price per gallon is throwing your budget out of whack, these tips may help:
- Look for the cheapest price along your daily route. Download a gas app so you can more easily track which station is cheapest on a given day. Keep in mind that some grocery or convenience store chains offer rewards points that can be converted into discounts on gas at their pumps.
- Stay current on maintenance. Keeping your car on a regular maintenance schedule will help it operate at top efficiency. Properly inflated tires are particularly important for maintaining good fuel mileage.
- Easy on the gas, easy on the brake. Aggressive driving burns more gasoline. Easing off the gas pedal before turning or stopping will use far less gas than staying on the accelerator and slamming on the brake at the last second. In addition, stay within the speed limit at all times.
- Clean out your car. Make a habit of emptying your car of everything except emergency supplies whenever you come home from shopping or travel. Every extra pound in your vehicle increases the amount of gas it needs to maintain speed.
- Go hybrid or electric. If you are in the market for a new or used car, consider buying an electric vehicle or a hybrid plug-in. Electric vehicles are currently eligible for a federal income tax credit of up to $7,500.
- Turn down the heat or air. Keep your car at a comfortable temperature and leave the fan at the lowest effective setting. Open windows are good for cooling the car at lower speeds, but at higher ones, they will create wind drag that decreases fuel efficiency.
- Drive less. Easy ways to cut back include:
- Consolidate errands so that you can get as many done in one trip as possible.
- If several stops are within walking distance of each other, park in one spot and walk to each one.
- Work from home when possible.
- Order online for home delivery when it is cheaper than driving to the store.