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5 Practical Tips for Saving Money on Gas this Summer

by David Sung

So summer is right around the corner and if you’re like most Americans, it’s the time of year when you’ll be out-and-about and most active. This summer, however, your activity plans may hit you a bit harder in the wallet than previous years due to the high cost of gas at the pumps. According to the US Energy Administration, the national average cost for a gallon of gas in the 1st week of May 2011 hit $4.02 which is just 14 cents off the all time high of $4.16 recorded in July of 2008.

So what’s a person to do? You can’t just stay home all summer and do nothing. Fear not my friends because here are 5 tips (4 about your vehicle and 1 about the cash in your wallet) you can use right away to help ease the sting of those pesky gas prices.

  1. Reduce the road rage and hone your driving skills: Accelerating rapidly and mashing the brakes will burn your fuel quicker. This means, try to drive at a smooth, constant speed as much as possible. On a side note: according to the US Department of Energy, for every 5 mph you drive over 60 mph, you spend, on average, an additional 24 cents per gallon (this price is calculated on a $3.79 price per gallon)
  2. Try not to idle your car or sit in traffic: An idling car uses up gas faster than a car on-the-go. We can all simply shut off our engines to avoid idling but it’s the being stuck in traffic that can be a bit harder to avoid. So think about planning out better routes for your commutes or, if possible, leave a little earlier or later from work to avoid those rush hour times.
  3. Wash and clean out your car: This one is simple. A heavier car burns gas at a faster rate than a lighter one.
  4. Cars need love too: If you take care of your car, it will pay you back because properly maintained vehicles are simply more fuel efficient. Change your oil and filters on time and make sure to take care of those tires – like making sure they’re properly inflated, rotated and changed when they become worn out.
  5. And Last but not Least - play mind tricks to save some extra gas money: Try this on for size – for an entire month, every time you get a hold of a $5 bill, save it. You’ll be amazed at how much you can stash away in that month time period. Use the saved up $5 bills for the next months gas. Note: you can do this same trick with other denominations too. Hoarding your loose coins is also a great way to put away extra gas money.

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