Driving is one of those things that’s a must in our lives – if not every day – at least at some point or another. And one thing I’m adamant about doing is saving money on gas. I live in Canada and prices for gas is nothing short of outrageous.
For instance, as of the date of this post, my local gas station’s current price for gas is $1.02 per litre. That may not sound bad but if you’re reading this from the States, keep in mind that there are 4 litres in a gallon. So one gallon of gas here is a whopping $4.08! Expensive or what?
So with the hefty prices I’m always looking for ways to cut costs at the pump and if you are too, then keep reading…
1. Downsize your vehicle
If you’re driving a gas guzzling vehicle, well then you don’t need to be a rocket scientist to know you are spending a fortune on gas. Ask yourself if you really need a big vehicle, if not, downsize to a smaller one that’s much easier on gas. A large vehicle can run you hundreds of dollars a month in gasoline depending on how far you drive each day.
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2. Slow and steady wins the race
If you’ve got a lead foot, you well know that you are using more gas to drive at a faster speed. Slow down a little and save your gas. Does driving faster really save you any more time? I often pay attention to license plates of cars that blow past me on the highway, only to end up seeing the same car hit the same morning/evening traffic snag that I do and they are only a few car lengths ahead.
3. Be rewarded
Many gas stations have their own reward and loyalty programs. Check out which ones are the best for you. Some allow you to take a few cents off the cost per gallon/litre, while others give you cash back or some other reward. One place near my home takes of a certain number of cents per litre if you pay with cash rather than credit. Plus one of the grocery stores I frequent gives you coupons for so much off your next gas purchase at their affiliated gas stations. It’s nice to be rewarded and a couple dollars here and there certainly adds up.
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4. Plan routes
Have you ever driven with someone who will zig zag across town when doing errands rather than plan out what needs to be done and finish in one area before heading to the next? I have and it drives me crazy. What a waste.
5. Shop online
Staying home and surfing the net for the latest bargain uses up zero gas and can save you even more than running around from place to place looking for an item. Why jaunt to several stores looking for an item when you can either buy it online or pick it up at the store and just make one trip?
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6. Drive less
Walking is a better alternative for many reasons. Many times on my lunch hour I will walk to the nearby shopping center to pick up any grocery items I may need rather than taking the car. It’s a great way to get outside and get some exercise and saves on gas as well. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve opted to take the car to do this and discovered with small traffic snags I could have walked it a lot faster than driving.
7. Don’t idle
We all know that sitting with the car idling is not only bad for the environment but it’s costing us to have it running as well. If you have to sit and wait for a few minutes, turn off the car.
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8. Shorter warm-ups
I live in Canada and our winter can be quite cold at times so it’s tempting to have the car running for a bit before I get in…especially so it can defrost and warm up. The problem is that it wastes a lot of gas, so now I only let it warm up while I scrape the windows or remove snow. That way it’s just a couple minutes instead of leaving it on for longer periods of time. After all, it will warm up just fine once I get going anyway.
9. Car pool
This isn’t just for those of us working the 9-5 grind. One of my co-workers will car pool with other families for sporting schedules as well. They take turns hauling the kids to hockey games and practices, or birthday parties, or other events. etc. Why bring more than one vehicle? No need to at all.
10. Reducing A/C usage
I love a hot summer day, but I don’t like sweltering in the hot car. That being said, having the AC blowing at full blast all the time uses a lot of extra fuel. Try cooling the car off, then turning the AC off for a bit. Sometimes using the car vent will cool you off when the AC isn’t an absolutely necessity.
11. Pump up the … tires
This was something I didn’t realize until a mechanic had told me that under-inflated tires can really affect fuel consumption. So make sure that your tires are at their proper inflation to help you save on gas.
12. Roll up the windows
My step-daughter loves driving in the car with her window down, and I will let her if we are in slow traffic, but once we get moving, up it goes. Why? Simply because it causes a drag effect on the vehicle when the windows are down. Cars are designed to be aerodynamic and having the windows down affects the way air is pushed around us. It causes us to use more fuel because of it.
13. Gas up regularly
Try not to wait until your car is practically running on fumes before filling up. Doing this only results in you having to get gas right away and you may end up paying more for it.
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14. Know your prices
Keep up on gas prices whether it be through a free app like GasBuddy that tells you the best gas prices where you live, or through other methods. Knowing what’s a good price and what’s not is important. I’d personally rather the money in MY wallet than in the gas station’s. And since buying gas is a frequent purchase for many of us, this can easily add up especially when prices can fluctuate between gas station suppliers even in the same area.
15. Credit card rewards
Our credit card is a no-fee card that gives us back a percentage on every purchase we make. This is a nice incentive when using it for every day purchases because we can gain something from it, plus I like to double up and still use a gas station loyalty card for additional points when possible. Just make sure you are using the credit card for purchases you know you will/can pay off on time so that the balance doesn’t get ahead of you.
And there you have it… some ways you save money on gas! Do you have any tricks for how YOU save big at the pumps? Let me know below… I’ love to hear about it!