Whether you’re traveling home from college, visiting your favorite vacation spot, or going back and forth to work or the grocery store, driving can quickly drain your wallet. Regular gas prices throughout Pennsylvania and the rest of the Central Atlantic region reached an average of $2.80 per gallon [Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration (Nov 2018)] in November 2018 — an increase of around $0.20 from the previous year.
With prices continually fluctuating, it’s more important than ever to find small ways to save your gas — and your money. Here are some tips you can use to conserve gas and save money the next time you fill up your tank.
Do you live in the same neighborhood as a coworker, or do you and your neighbor often go to the grocery store at the same time? If so, carpooling is the way to go.
Carpooling is convenient, as it can split the costs in half for both of you. By switching between your vehicle and the other person’s every trip, you and the other driver can conserve gas while reducing wear and tear, enabling both cars to last longer.
2. Do Your Research
Numerous smartphone apps track local gas prices and can show you where the best deals are in your area. Before you head out, check and see which station on your route is cheapest.
3. Take Advantage of Discount Programs
Additionally, many gas stations and local grocery stores offer gas rewards programs that can cut your cost by several cents per gallon. Check with your local stores and favorite gas stations to track down the best deals and rates near you.
4. Drive Slower and Brake Less
If you’re stuck in traffic or running late for work, you may be tempted to speed or quickly accelerate at traffic lights to make up for lost time, but these practices could cost you in the long run. Driving too fast creates more wind resistance — which makes the engine work harder — while stopping too quickly pushes more fuel into the engine.
Slowing down when driving can improve your vehicle’s gas mileage by more than 30%, according to tests performed by Edmunds.com. Stick to the speed limit, accelerate slowly, and brake gradually to put the least amount of pressure on your engine.
5. Turn Off the A/C
Air conditioning can quickly become a gas guzzler if you’re not careful, although rolling down a window all the way can be nearly as harmful to your fuel mileage. Instead, park in the shade and roll the window down only a small amount to circulate the air.
6. Get Gas Before Your Tank is Almost Empty
If your gas tank is almost empty, you don’t have the time to be picky about where you stop for fuel. As a result, you could end up paying far more for nearby gas. Get gas in your free time before you’re running on empty so you can choose the gas station along your route that has the best price.
7. Fill Up Near State Lines
Because different states have different gasoline tax rates, you could save several cents per gallon by merely crossing state lines. If you’re going on a road trip, do some research to find the average gas prices of each state you’ll be passing through and plan your gas stops accordingly.
8. Keep Your Car in Good Shape
Keeping your tires filled, your engine tuned, and your oil fresh can help your car run smoother and more efficiently. Proper maintenance offers several gas-saving benefits for your vehicle, according to the U.S. Department of Energy:
- A well-tuned engine can improve gas mileage by 4%, while fixing a severe maintenance issue can improve mileage by up to 40%.
- Properly inflated tires can improve gas mileage by 0.6%.
- Using the right type of motor oil based on your manufacturer’s recommendations can improve gas mileage by 1 to 2%.
Another thing to consider – don’t use your vehicle as extra storage space. Using your trunk to store your golf clubs and toolbox, for example, can weigh down your car and suppress your miles per gallon.
9. Consider Buying a Fuel-Efficient Vehicle
While you don’t need to go out of your way to buy another vehicle as soon as gas prices spike, you could consider buying a fuel-efficient model the next time you need a new car.
Manufacturers are increasingly producing more fuel-efficient models for budget- and eco-conscious consumers, so you’ll find a wide range of vehicles available. Use a price comparison site, such as the U.S. Department of Energy’s car comparison tool, to look for your next car based on your price range and its average gas mileage.
10. Pay for Gas with a Cash Rewards Credit Card
Save a little extra by paying for gas with a credit card that rewards you for making purchases. PSECU’s Founder’s Card gives generous cash rewards of 1.5% or 2%* on every purchase — there are no rotating categories, no limits on how much you can earn, and rewards never expire.
We’re here to help you save on your everyday expenses and keep your money where it belongs — with you. If you’re ready to start earning rewards from buying gas with a cash rewards credit card, then apply for our Founder’s Card today.
For more money-saving tips, check out our WalletWorks page.
*You can earn 1.5% cash rewards on purchases. You can earn 2% cash rewards on purchases if you maintain a PSECU checking account and qualifying monthly direct deposit of at least $500. See the Visa® Founder’s Card and Visa® Alumni Rewards Card Rewards Program Terms and Conditions for full details.