Gas prices are high enough that anything you can do to squeak more mileage from your tank is a real bonus. If you can't afford a hybrid car, there is still a lot you can do.
How to get cheaper gas and use it wisely -
- The first thing you want to look at is your car itself. A well tuned vehicle will use the gasoline more efficiently. Do you need a tuneup, or at least a preventative oil change?
- Clean out your air filter or replace it. A clean filter will ensure you are sending cleaner air into your fuel mixture. Don't waste gas combusting dust and grit from the road. Again, you want your expensive gasoline to burn as clean as possible. If you can't afford a new air filter today, then take out the one you have and knock it against the road to clean the folds out a bit. Then mark your calendar to get a new air filter when you can.
- Keep your tires in good shape. If your balance, tread and alignment is off, then your car is fighting itself to drive smoothly. It's like making your engine run extra miles. A lot of gas gets sucked up correcting misalignments. See if your tire shop offers free balancing, rotating, or alignments - and take them up on the opportunity. Look into replacing tired treads with inexpensive retread tires (and make sure you ask about free balancing and rotating so you can use what you have to their best potential). Tire alignments can be expensive, so ask your local shop how off your current alignment it. It might be time to pull out the savings for this one. Don't make a long trip on inefficient tires.
- If your car is as good as you can afford it to be, your next step lies in finding the least expensive gas. Don't splurge on extra octane gas or additives unless your car manual specifically tells you to. The cheap gas from Maverick is the same as the expensive Shell and Chevron crude.
- Look around at your local gas stations - the ones near your home, near your workplace, and near where you shop. There are even websites and smartphone apps that can tell you exactly the current price differences, and what gas stations are located where. Gasbuddy.com is a great place to bookmark on the web. Learn where your cheap gas is and use those stations.
- Use your gas club cards. I have a Maverick Gas card that saves me pennies on each gallon. It adds up. I have a card that saves pennies at Flying J and Pilot gas stations. If you have a Sam's Card or Costco Card, use those to get the cheaper fuel. Don't forget the shopping store discounts! Safeway, Fry's and other large shopping centers give you as much as ten cent a gallon discounts on their food receipts after you spend enough money in their stores. Use these discounts before they expire! They offer great savings!
- Plan your travels better. Group errands so you drive less miles. Use the freeway more - in-town driving eats up more gasoline than running smoothly along the highway. Avoid rush hour traffic by any means necessary. There are great free smartphone apps to help you avoid bad traffic, and even GPS devices offer reroute suggestions.
- Ease up on the throttle. Try to drive smoother. Jerking around on the brake and gas pedals sucks gas into oblivion. Drive slower speeds if you are not in any particular hurry. Slower driving uses less gas.
- Ditch the car when you can. Order needed supplies online so you don't have to drive around for your household needs and staples. Can you walk or bike more to get around? Can you use public transit for some errands? It's not only better for your car and your wallet - it's better for you!
We can all do much better in stretching out our gasoline. By staying focused on keeping your car in shape, planning your driving routines better and by ditching the car when you can, you will see big savings in your gas budget!
Here is an inexpensive air filter option for your car at Amazon, and a Kindle ebook with more specific gas-saving tips -
Fram CA9360 Rigid Panel Air Filter
Improving Your Cars Gas Mileage Kindle ebook