Summer weather calls for a lot of outdoor activities, vacations and road trips with your friends. However, constantly filling up your tank can be quite the pain. Not only is it time consuming but it can put a dent in your wallet. Even though gas prices may be down from last year, there’s still room to cut back this summer so you can be your best financial self.
Follow these best practices to avoid blowing your whole paycheck on fuel expenses.
1. Carpool: Heading to the lake, or even just to a theme park? Carpool with your friends. Everyone can pitch in for gas, and you’re being kinder to the environment.
2. Slow down: I’ve written before about the costs of speeding, but aside from that, speeding also guzzles your gas. Here’s an easy solution: Stop aggressive driving habits! In addition to saving money on fuel, you’ll likely save money on repairs. Bonus: Relaxed driving will also make you feel relaxed and less aggressive. Who can argue with that?
3. Don’t blast the AC: There will be days, inevitably, where you simply aren’t going to cruise around town in 90 degree weather with your windows rolled down. But, if it’s a nice day, go ahead and roll them down and take advantage of that fresh air. If you’re on the highway, though, roll ‘em on up.
4. Avoid “jackrabbit” starts and hard breaking: These can increase fuel use by up to 40 percent and significantly increase wear on the car’s engine and brakes. Gradual accelerating and stopping are easy ways to save money in fuel costs when driving in town.
5. Clean out your car: Many of us are guilty of living out of our cars. You move home from school for the summer, and all of a sudden it seems like it’s impossible to keep your car clean. For every 100 extra pounds carried around, your vehicle loses 1%-2% in fuel efficiency. Words of advice: Don’t drive around with too much junk in the trunk!
6. Maintain your vehicle: Rotate your tires, get regular oil changes, change your air filter, and check your tire pressure. If you don’t remember the last time you did any of those tasks, do them now. Not only will it improve your fuel economy, but it will also lengthen the life of your vehicle. Prolonging these tasks won’t save you any money, and skipping them will only cost you thousands.
7. Don’t Idle: Besides causing pollution, idling wastes gas. Reduce the amount of time the car is stationary and the engine is idle when driving in town. Getting stuck in traffic, waiting in line at the drive-through or running the engine to power the air conditioner are examples of fuel use that can be reduced and/or eliminated.
These small strategies can add up and help save you cash all year long. What’s your favorite way to cut costs during the sweltering summer months? Leave a comment below!
Until Next Time,