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Wednesday, May 4, 2022

10 Ways to Pay Less at the Gas Pump

By Catherine Powell 

Image courtesy Pixabay

I don't know about you, but I consider it bad news when $3.99 a gallon is considered a good price for gasoline.  I mean, it wasn't that long ago when gas prices were about half as much.  If you're tired of paying through the nose every time to go to the pump, there are a few things you can do other than trading your gas guzzler in for an electric car.  Below are ten ways to save money on every fill up.

1. Shop around for the best price. - I know this sounds like kind of a no-brainer, but there are ways to spend less per gallon besides using the Internet to shop around for cheap gas.  Some retailers are now offering discounts of up to ten cents per gallon when you buy specially marked items.  Last week alone I was able to fill up my tank for only $3.66 a gallon after shopping at a well-known big box retailer.  

2. Calculate your actual gas mileage. - While all late model cars come equipped with apps that purport to tell you your vehicle's miles per gallon, unless you verify the data you could be burning way more gas than you think.  The best way to determine if the app is giving you accurate data is to top off your tank and record the mileage.  Then drive your car until it needs to be filled again.  Jot down the mileage and subtract it from the number you recorded when you filled up to determine the number of miles you traveled.  Last but not least, divide the number of miles traveled by the gallons pumped to determine your actual MPG.

3. Turn that lead foot into a feather foot. - If you tend to drive rather aggressively, you'll burn more gas than someone who drives slower.  That means if you want to pay less at the pump you should consider slowing down when you drive.  The savings could be significant. Want to save even more? If your vehicle comes equipped with various driving modes, you can program in the savings by shifting from Sport into Eco-mode.

4. Use cruise control whenever possible. - Unless it's raining, every time you drive on the highway you should engage cruise control if you want to improve your fuel efficiency.  That's because cruise control is programmed to make the most of the fuel onboard your vehicle.  If you don't believe me, the next time you take a long drive, track the fuel burned during the trip, then when you make the same trip, drive the route yourself to determine whether you or the car burns less fuel.

5. Reduce the amount of time your car sits idling. - The longer a car idles, the more fuel it burns needlessly.  If you start your car a few minutes early to either warm it up or cool it down, you're burning gas while going nowhere.  If you let the car sit in the driveway with the motor running while you unload your groceries, all you're doing is causing your money to go up in smoke.

6. When's the last time you checked the tire pressure. - Not only do underinflated tires cost you more at the gas pump, chronically underinflated tires cause you to have to buy new tires more frequently.  The best way to save money at the pump and unnecessary wear and tear on your tires is to check the tire pressure on a monthly basis and add air when the tires are five or more pounds underinflated.

7. Reduce unnecessary weight. - Does your car need to go on a diet?  It does if the trunk and/or backseat are full of junk.  The heavier your vehicle is, the poorer the gas mileage.  If you want to improve your car's MPG, consider lightening the load by cleaning it out.  Also, if you have a removable luggage rack, consider removing it when not in use.  The more aerodynamic your vehicle, the higher the fuel efficiency.

8. Plan your trips to increase your fuel efficiency. - Every time your vehicle sits in rush hour traffic, you're needlessly wasting fuel.  Whenever possible, plan your trips to avoid the morning and evening rush, as well as the lunch crunch and you'll be amazed at how much gas you'll save.

9. Learn ways to avoid windshield time. - I can't emphasize this next point enough.  Before you jump in your car and fire up the engine, ask yourself if the trip is really necessary.  If you can accomplish your task by telecommuting, you'll save yourself not only gas but the aggravation of having to drive clear across town.

10. Is it time to trade in that old clunker? - If you've had your current vehicle for ten or more years, maybe it's time to consider buying something a bit more fuel efficient.  The way to determine whether this is a sound financial decision is to add up everything you're currently spending to keep your current vehicle, then do the math to determine how much you'll save on fuel and maintenance if you bought a newer one.

Catherine Powell is the owner of A Plus All Florida Insurance in Orange Park, Florida. To find out more about saving money on all your insurance needs, check out her website at

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