Slash the High Cost of Gas

 

I can sum up my response to the high cost of gasoline in just one word: Aargh!

While waiting for prices to come down (do you think they ever will?) don’t sit around complaining all the while paying through the nose to drive your car. Do something about it!

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There are lots of things you can do to increase the number of miles you can squeeze out of each gallon of gas, effectively reducing its cost. Here are a few: 

Empty the trunk. The heavier the car the harder the engine must work to move it around. The harder the engine works, the more fuel it burns. So unload all that other stuff you’ve been carrying around in the trunk for no good reason (please, leave the spare tire and emergency equipment). It’ s trunk, not a mini-storage unit. Unload and you could easily increase your gas mileage by as much as 10 percent.

Check tire inflation. Get into the habit of checking tire pressure every time you fill up, but when the tires are cold. The recommended PSI (pounds of pressure per square inch) is written right on the tire itself. Under inflated tires cause the engine to work harder than necessary, over inflation causes tires to wear prematurely.

Clean the air filter. One of the main causes of low gas mileage is a dirty air filter. If yours cannot be cleaned, replace it and repeat often. Check with a knowledgeable professional at an auto parts store or your mechanic about how often to clean or replace the air filter on your particular model. This is a task you can probably do yourself.

Lighten the lead foot. Drive as if there is a raw egg positioned right under the gas pedal. Your mission is to accelerate so gently that you do not break the egg. Sudden acceleration and lead foot syndrome is the biggest of all fuel thieves.

Bundle your errands. Instead of making many small trips every day of the week, plan ahead. Run all of your errands at the same time, in one longer trip rather than making many small trips all week long. Once your car is warmed up it operates more efficiently, which means wit better gas mileage.

Repair, maintain. Transmission torque converter clutch failure results in poor gasoline mileage, as does transmission slipping, a stuck choke plate and leaking injectors. Wow, that really sounds like I’m know that I’m talking about doesn’t it? I’m no auto mechanic, but I’ve learned from so many of my readers who are that it pays to find a good mechanic you can trust and then trust him! I’ve also learned my share of expensive lessons over the years that practicing preventive maintenance means cash in your pocket. First you don’t have to pay for those expensive repairs, but as a bonus you’ll get much better gas mileage when everything’s working well. Change the oil religiously every 3 months or 3000 mileage, and even more often if you put many miles on your car in short periods of time.

Increasing your gas mileage by only 10 percent is the equivalent of getting one free fill-up every tenth visit to the filling station. Not bad! The secret is to redirect that savings to some other use before it gets absorbed into your regular spending.

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9 replies
  1. mildred lane
    mildred lane says:

    I am using Weigels for my gas because they offer a rewards card to take off $.10/gallon of gas and is automatically w/ drawn from your checking account and for their milk -which is $3.29 gallon for the 2percent – after 17 gallon of milk u get the next gallon free. Every little bit of saving counts.

    Reply
  2. LindaS.
    LindaS. says:

    I have always changed my oil in our vehicles every 3,000 miles or 3 months but now with the different types of synthetic oils they use they do not recommend you change it that often. We just purchased a vehicle (used but 2010) and they told us to change it every 5,000 miles and it would be a waste of money to change it sooner. Hard for me to change my habit but that in itself would be a savings and it isn’t suppose to have any negative effects on the vehicle (better for the environment, too).

    Reply
  3. Cara
    Cara says:

    Look at your driving habits. You’ll find that most of your trips are about 43 miles or less in a day. Then consider getting an electric vehicle (Leaf, Nissan Leaf, Mitsubishi MiEV, Fiat 500e, Ford Focus Electric, Honda Fit EV, Tesla Model S – this one has range of about 265 miles on a single charge!). Besides not needing gas, plug-in EVs (electric vehicles) have fewer moving parts that don’t need lubrication so, in addition to no gas, there’s no messy oil, oil filter, muffler, catalytic convertor, radiator, belts. For more information about EVs see – http://www.afdc.energy.gov/vehicles/electric.html

    Reply
    • that_girl
      that_girl says:

      I drive about 60 miles a day just for work. So unfortunately this isn’t an option for me…. Plus a lot of them are pretty expensive still.

      We did consider a Prius for our latest car purchase, but even then the premium in price did not make up for the gas savings. (Really — I did the math.)

      Reply
    • DianaB
      DianaB says:

      Well, I will run out and buy a brand new vehicle so I have monthly payments (currently I have no vehicle payments) plus the added cost of insurance for a brand new vehicle and the taxes and the plates. Seems that alternative is much cheaper than buying gas for the ones I currently have.

      Reply
  4. Andrea B
    Andrea B says:

    Normally I save my daily email digests I receive from Everyday Cheapskate for future reference. Not this post, though! I thought I was going to learn something new, not have the same thing rehashed that came out a few years ago!

    Reply
    • Donna R.
      Donna R. says:

      Not everyone has had the benefit of being here as long as you have, Andrea. And, in my case, repetition is the mother of learning, so I don’t mind repeats, now and then. Scrolling down through the comments after an entry is also usually a good source of more information. Usually.

      Reply
  5. janebice
    janebice says:

    Please don’t fill your tires to the pressure on the side of the tire. That is the max pressure for that tire. The correct tire pressure for your vehicle is found on a sticker inside the drivers door or in your owner’s manual.

    Reply
  6. jc4me
    jc4me says:

    I keep a log of my MPG for each tank of gas and I’ve found that buying more expensive, brand name gas gets me about 2 MPG more than cheaper gas. It costs a little more per tank to fill up, but that tank of gas goes farther and ends up being cheaper in the long run.

    Reply

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