Driving Home the Savings

Here's a strange piece of gasoline trivia: To get a little more for your money, buy your gasoline in the early morning or at night when the temperatures drop. Gas becomes denser in cooler temperatures. Since gas pumps only measure the volume of fuel - not the density - you'll get more gas for your money by purchasing fuel when it's cool outside.

Obviously the kind of car you drive is a major factor in fuel consumption. Unless you really use the space, a large SUV is likely to be more vehicle than you really need. Purchasing the smallest car possible for your driving needs will save a tremendous amount in gasoline bills. The best way to reduce car expenses is to use your car only when necessary. Cars are extremely convenient, so people use them more often than they really need to.

There are a number of small adjustments you can make in your driving habits to reduce fuel expenses. Here's a list of things to consider:
  • For short trips close to home, try walking or riding your bicycle. Not only will you save money on your car expenses, you'll also get some exercise.
  • Combine errands into one outing instead of making several trips. Car pooling and mass transportation systems are excellent ways to reduce car expenses.
  • Take the time to check your car's tire pressure every few months. Under-inflated tires reduce fuel efficiency by 2 percent for every pound they are under inflated.
  • Drive at the speed limit. Cars use about 20 percent more fuel driving at 70 mph than they do at 55 mph.
  • Avoid using air conditioning when possible. Air conditioning reduces fuel economy by up to 20 percent.
  • Don't open windows when traveling at high speeds. Open windows can reduce fuel efficiency by 10 percent. It is much better to use the ventilation system.
  • Use cruise control to maintain a steady pace on the highway.
  • Avoid rough roads. Driving on roads made of dirt or gravel can reduce fuel economy by up to 30 percent.
  • Don't let your car idle. Even on cold mornings, there's no need to let your car idle for more than 30 seconds.
  • Remove all excess weight from your car. Many people use their trunk as a storage space, adding unneeded pounds to the car's weight.
  • Try to accelerate gently, brake gradually and avoid stops when driving. Gunning engines, quickly accelerating, and abrupt stops all waste fuel.
  • If possible, avoid driving during rush hour periods when you know traffic will be stop and go. If you do find yourself in stop and go traffic, try to maintain a crawl.
  • Service your car regularly while paying special attention to oil and filters. Blocked air flow from clogged air filters will increase fuel waste.
  • Check your tires in alignment, since this can cause engine drag and increase gas waste.
  • Keep a log of your car's fuel efficiency. A loss in fuel efficiency is an indication of possible mechanical problems.

You'll be surprised by how much you can save over your regular driving habits, and you'll be able to enjoy some extra money jingling in your pockets.