Real ways to save at the pump

Be thankful you don’t live in Norway. A gallon of gas there will run you $10.12. Filling a Chevy Suburban would set you back $394.68. In Turkey, you’d be paying $9.41 per gallon and in Hong Kong, a cool $8.61. In fact, only five nations have less pain at the pump than the U.S. does, and four of them are members of OPEC.

That still doesn’t keep me from feeling the pinch every time I pull up to the pump. With a gallon of gas going for $4.00, filling the minivan is as painful as a trip to the dentist. For any regular commuter, the increasing price of gasoline will severely cut into their budget, so finding ways to save money on gas should be a priority. There are actually a lot of things you can do that will add up to real savings in the long run. But before we get to those tips, let’s debunk a few common myths about fuel economy.

Debunking the Bunk

1. The AC.

Studies have shown that running your air conditioning does not significantly impact your car’s MPG. So if you want to drive in comfort roll up those windows on a hot day and crank up the AC.

2. Tire Inflation.

There’s was a trend with motorist going around that had commuters thinking that over-inflating their tires was going to save them gas. Studies show that keeping your tires over-inflated is not going to save you money and actually might be not cost effective in the long run due to the fact that if your tires are over-inflated you might ruin that treads of your tires.

3. Gas Saving Gadgets and Additives.

There are a lot of gizmos and gas additives that claim to increase your miles per gallon, but be wary of these claims. Of the handful of products that actually “worked”, the savings were minuscule.

Tips for Saving

1. Buy gas on wednesday. 

While this seems like a strange tip, it turns out that you’ll often find the best prices on gas mid-week. Many believe it’s because gas stations tend to hike the prices as the weekend nears. The theory is that gas station owners want to take advantage of consumers who are filling up for the weekend. Keep an eye on gas prices in your area to see if there are similar trends that you can exploit.

2. Apps are your friend.

GasBuddy is an invaluable resource in finding the cheapest gas near you. Keep in mind, though, that it doesn’t make sense to drive more than a few miles to save a couple pennies per gallon.

3. Lose weight. 

Studies show 30 lbs of weight will roughly increase your MPG by one-tenth to one-hundredth of a percent depending on your vehicle. So if losing 30 lbs around your waist isn’t realistic or convenient, the first place to look is the junk in your trunk. You would be amazed about all the stuff that’s lying around in there; some might even go as far as getting rid of that spare tire (not around their waist although that can’t hurt).

4. Take it into overdrive, Chewie.

Overdrive gears improve the fuel economy of your car during highway driving. Your car’s engine speed decreases when you use overdrive. This reduces both fuel consumption and engine wear.

5. Don’t drive like a maniac.

Stick to the speed limit, refrain from tailgating, use your brakes sparingly and don’t take off like a drag racer at every light and you’ll see your fuel efficiency skyrocket. Plus people will like you more.

6. Keep your ship in shape.

Make sure to keep up with vehicle maintenance. Underinflated tires, misalignment, dirty filters and dirty oil will decrease your gas mileage.

Have any ideas for saving gas? Let us know by commenting below.

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