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15 Ways to Save Money on Gasoline (Part 2)

I started the 15 Ways to Save Money on Gasoline last week. Here are eight more ways to save money on gasoline submitted by Chrystal Turner from Sea of Savings:

8. Take it easy.

Rapid braking, punching the accelerator and other forms of forceful driving can cut fuel efficiency by as much as one-third at highway speeds and five percent in the city. Driving more carefully can save you up to $1 per gallon.

9. Carpool, if possible.

While this won’t work for everyone, if you can split the costs of gasoline with someone else, you’ll definitely save a bundle. Plus, if you share driving responsibilities, it will allow you to read, write or accomplish other work instead of always driving.

10. Lighten up.

Reducing the weight in your car by 100 pounds can increase your fuel efficiency by up to two percent, the EPA says, or up to $0.07 per gallon. Don’t haul anything unnecessary.

11. Don’t idle.

Idling wastes gas. The bigger the engine, the more gas wasted.

Consider going inside to order your lunch rather than waiting in a long drive-through line. Using cruise control and the overdrive gear at highway speeds will also help improve your gas mileage.

12. Get regular tune-ups.

A car that isn’t running well wastes gas. A tune-up and other repairs can improve your gas mileage by about four percent, or $0.15 per gallon, according to the EPA.

Fixing a serious problem can improve mileage by an enormous 40 percent. The repairs might be expensive, but at today’s gas prices, it will be cheaper in the long run to do the repairs.

13. Clean it up.

A clogged air filter can decrease your gas mileage by up to 10 percent, or $0.37 per gallon. And using the proper grade of motor oil can save one to two percent, or $0.04 to $0.07 per gallon.

14. Check your tires.

Properly inflated tires improve gas mileage by up to three percent.

15. Buy where it’s least expensive.

Finally, make sure you’re getting the best gas prices in your area by checking

Chrystal Turner is a mom of one little energetic 4 year old, wife, work at home mom and blogger. Her blog, Sea of Savings, features the latest coupons and freebies, and routinely features work-at-home jobs and tips for working at home.

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  • Ugh. The lighten-up one is such a good point! I drove around for WEEKS with stuff I had decluttered that was waiting to be hauled to the donation place. I wonder how many pounds it was?

  • This past weekend I drove to Chicago and was appalled at the gas prices! Even though I tried to wait until I was out of the city on my way home to fill up, I paid exorbitant prices at the pump…$70 to not quite fill our mini-van. Gulp!

    ~Before my trip, while I was still in fairly reasonable St. Louis, I noticed prices jumped twenty cents in a matter of hours one morning. Since I was going to be in the Costco area anyway, I stopped by the pumps there (we’re members) and ended up paying thirty cents per gallon less than the new, higher going rate. (YAY!!) A friend’s tip a couple years ago was spot on: when gas prices jump, you have about a day to get the cheaper prices at Costco (and probably Sam’s too).

    • Chandler says:

      When I was at the pump complaining to my cashier that it cost me more to fill up my tank ($80+) than it did to fill up my cart at Walmart, he told me that he would swap with me. That is cost him $128 that morning to fill up his van. Ouch.

    • Allison V. says:

      I just filled my new-to-me van with $96. Whoa. But it works out the the same mpg as my Premium-guzzling car, so I’m okay with that.

  • Lalala says:

    Question to you car savvy folks out there: I heard turning the car on and off wastes more gas than idling. Thoughts?

    • peever says:

      I just an article about that and “they” say that’s not true for newer vehicles any more because they’re so efficient that virtually no fuel is wasted during start up.

    • Jan says:

      Peever is correct–pretty much any car out there uses less gas to start up than the ones we middle-aged folks grew up with, so the old advice about idling is outdated: if you’re stopped somewhere (other than a red light, of course) for more than 10 seconds, you save more gas by turning the engine off. I keep a couple fleece blankets in the car and use a folded one over my lap if I’m sitting in the car waiting somewhere. We always had “car robes” in the car when I was a kid–some old ideas are worth keeping!

  • Julia says:

    I am so happy to have found a friend who is also a SAHM that wants to carpool. We went to the library together today!

  • Andrea Q says:

    In #8, I think you mean braking.

    • Andrea Q says:

      It seems like there are words missing in #9 and I believe that #13 should read “increase your gas mileage”, not increase.

      • Crystal says:

        Whoops! Looks like I put this article in pending before I was finished editing it. Thanks for catching the mistakes!

        • Andrea Q says:

          You’re welcome. I’m sure you’re super busy right now with the book. When I was a technical writer, the words would start to blend together after awhile!

  • Janet says:

    To increase your gas mileage how about cleaning out the car! Don’t carry anything more than you need. I know often I have a trunk full and I really only need about 1/4 of the things that are in there.

  • Kylan says:

    Hey, just wanted to point out that using the cruise control actually decreases your gas mileage by as much as a couple mpg’s depending on the vehicle. I am a automotive technician and can tell you from personal experience that cruise does not in fact help. In a prius that i drove for a few weeks the difference was as much as 10mpg! In my little sports car that doesnt get very good mpg anyways it is a difference of 2-3mpg, so it just depends on the kind of car. This is a common mistake that many people believe.

    The reason being that if you use cruise control it keeps your speed the same regardless if you are goin uphill, downhill, driving against wind or whatever. It will use more gas going uphill, downhill, ect to keep your speed constant. If one uses a steady foot as an alternative and doesn’t move the gas pedal you will slow down going uphill, then speed back up going down the hill. This method makes sure you use a constant gas supply, not a constant speed. This will cause the trip to be a little longer but well worth the money.

    Also in response to the starting and shutting off the engine using more gas versus idling it just depends on how long you will be in the car idling. more than a couple of minutes of idling will use more fuel than just shutting the car off and starting it after a few minutes.

  • Emily says:

    Great article! This is something our family has been really working on lately!

    I think you meant “mom of one …4 year old” instead of “wife” though ;)…
    “Chrystal Turner is a wife of one little energetic 4 year old, wife, work at home mom and blogger”

  • Becky says:

    RE: #10
    Sounds like yet another good reason to get on the treadmill. My extra 10 lbs is costing me .007/gallon 🙂

  • Del says:

    Don’t forget about shopping at stores that give you money off of gas. If you have a Giant Eagle in your area you get 10 cents off/per gallon for every $50 you spend. In addition, they offer extra money off for buying a certain number of items at one time. Yesterday I got an extra 30 cents off/per gallon buying things I could use anyway.

    Some Sam’s Clubs offer gas at a lower price to club members, but these seem to be few and far between.

    • Nancy says:

      My local store, Smith’s, also offers 10 cents per gallon, but the trade off is that our MPG goes down. 🙁 My husband refuses to buy gas from there.

  • And a big tip that lots of people don’t think of: shop around for your gas and keep track of your mileage – ex: I get better gas mileage from the “mom and pop” gas station down the road than I do from the chain store -I’ve also seen that my engine runs more steady and smooth with their gas vs the chain store gas!

  • Allison V. says:

    Well, I drive it like I stole it…probably costs less than the time lost or job lost from being late! =) Seriously…I’ve just upgraded from a V8 car that handled pretty nicely to a very nice new-to-me Windstar with a V6. I couldn’t be more thrilled if I’d bought a brand-new car! So I’m also driving it a bit more timidly. Plus, even thought it is very nice to drive, it’s not the kind of vehicle to be tearing around the corner.

    And unrelated to the post, but I gotta say it anyways: I am SO BLESSED to have that van! God is good and I’ma shout it from the rooftops!

    • Allison V. says:

      Oh, and I lightened up to by taking out a seat and leaving it in storage, so I can easily climb in and out of the back and help all three kids with their car seats. Ok…I’ll go away now and stop talking about my van…

      • Wendy says:

        God is good – just got a tremendous reminder of this today! And it’s wonderful that you’re able to drive something that is such a blessing to you!

      • Jen says:

        We did the same thing with a mini-van we had – it was pretty compact for a mini-van, and it was really tight trying to fit the car seats behind the front seats. We just took the first bench seat out, and used the back seat. No more worrying about kids kicking the front seats, or squished toddler legs! I never thought about the gas it must have saved us, too!

      • Nancy says:

        That’s a great tip!!! We only need the extra seating once or twice month. We’ll be tearing out our seat tomorrow. 🙂

    • Tania says:

      Congratulations on your blessing! God is good always! Amen to that!

  • Catherine R. says:

    See, I was taught in high school driver’s ed that idling a car is uses less gas than starting the engine after turning it off. Not sure which one is true but I’d be interested to know.

  • Jen says:

    #10, Lighten up – Doesn’t work when you drive a larger van that likes to slide around in the winter, so you have to weigh it down more. 🙂 I had to remind my husband to take the sand bags out when the weather got warm last year.

  • Kathryn says:

    I am going to be totally honest here… When I read “item #10. Lighten up – Reducing the weight in your car by 100 pounds can increase your fuel efficiency by up to two percent, the EPA says, or up to $0.07 per gallon. Don’t haul anything unnecessary.”, the very first thing that came to mind was not the extra items (stuff) that one lugs around in the car or trunk. Instead, it was the extra weight drivers and passengers carry on their bodies, including their “trunks”. It could be an extra 10, 20, 30, 50, even 100+ pounds that the car has to transport. Following item #10 is just one small & possibly good motivator to get on the weight loss bandwagon. The other tidbit that wasn’t mentioned (maybe it was in part 1) to save on fuel is to walk to your destination (if at all possible) instead of using the car. This not only saves fuel and wear ‘n tear on the car, but what great exercise!

  • Amanda says:

    As what I was being told and I have seen to myself is that .. make sure your gas tank is above the half tank… if it is below the half tank.. it will eat more gas… the better you keep it above the half then the cost would be less to fill in your tank.. instead of paying over so much as what is being empty

  • Holly says:

    I love my hybrid. I have a small SUV (Mercury Mariner) that averages 30-32mpg. It somehow makes me feel better when I’m stuck in the morning traffic on I-205 and my gas engine shuts off. At least I’m not stuck and wasting money.

  • Pay Cash for Your Gas
    I wrote a similar post on my blog and here’s one I didn’t see!

    Pay Cash for Gas:
    When the costs started to rise I noticed my gas station was charging more money if I used my debit card. That really ticked me off! So now I make sure I have cash in my wallet before I head to the pump.

    I save on average between $.03-.06 cents per gallon by paying cash. Not a huge saving, but it adds up over time and quite frankly, I don’t want to pay more than I have to for gasoline.

  • Renee says:

    Here’s an obvious but helpful tip. For those that don’t have to drive everyday, choose a bottom line gas budget. This week I just didn’t want to put more than $20 in my gas tank. Then, I simply had more fun at home.

    Blessings, Renee

  • anonymous says:

    Does anyone know if those things they sell to add to your car actually work for fuel efficiency? The Tornado comes to mind but I know there are others.

    • Kathryn says:

      I have never used these products but from what I heard, they do not work ~ just a rip-off to get you to buy those products. Don’t waste your money.

  • Bonnie says:

    I think a lot of people underestimate the value of the grocery gas incentives! Especially when using coupons! I have a Giant of PA and Giant/Stop and Shop very close by and they run some really awesome gas deals, you just have to get really good at their games. I have gotten really good and I am saving a good amount of money on my gas.

    I can often use the “Buy x # of this group of products, to get $X amount off of gas at the pump” promotions to get great savings. For example last week they were running a buy 4, get $.30 off on certain cleaning products. Windex was on sale for $2.50 and Fantastic was on sale for $2. With coupons and doubling, I was able to buy 4 Windex for only $5.60 ($.55 q’s doubled) and 4 Fantastic for only $2 ($.75 q’s doubled). Our gas program allows up to 30 gallons to be purchased, so $.20 off equals $9 for me (my car only holds 20 gallons, but I take 2 gas tanks with me to get the extra 10 gallons to maximize my savings) So you can see, if I pay $5.60 or $2 for 4 things and get back $9 in gas, I’m making money in free gas and getting cleaning products at the same time! Most weeks I can find at least one thing that I can break even on so I stock up, it’s like prepaying for my gas and getting my groceries for free. When I see a great deal like last weeks cleaning products, I order extra coupons and place a special order with the store. So last week I ended up with 20 bottles of Fantastic, 40 bottles of Windex, other gas deals that were great too and they paid me $72 in free gas. Not too shabby! So explore your gas/grocery programs and make them work for you!

  • Bonnie says:

    Should have included that I have already given half of the cleaning products away, don’t want anyone to worry that I am hoarding 🙂

  • Jen says:

    Also keeping your tires properly inflated, also read your owner’s manual and see how often it says to replace your fuel filter, if its dirty it will cause damage to the fuel pump and use more fuel as well.

  • JuliB says:

    If we as a society were truly serious about saving gas, municipalities would switch to flashing yellows/reds for stop lights on less busy thoroughfares. Additionally, so many of our stop signs could be changed to yield. It would take a little getting used to, but I think that overall, demand would drop.

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