For people living paycheck to paycheck or simply trying to keep their living expenses down, every item in the weekly or monthly budget matters. It’s easy to cut out some of the luxuries, but when it comes to necessities, it gets a little trickier.
Reducing spending on groceries is one smart way to save. Gas for your vehicle is another generally unavoidable expense that can add up quickly. But with some determination and planning, it’s not too hard to cut back on gas consumption for significant savings over the course of the month and year.
So, below are some sensible tips to save money on gas to help stay on track with your budget. As an added bonus, many of these ideas also cut back on wear and tear on your vehicle, reducing maintenance costs over time and even extending the life of your car, truck, SUV, or motorcycle.
How to Spend Less on Gas
- Don’t drive when you don’t have to. Walk or ride your bike instead. It’s not just one of the best tips to save money on gas—it’s also great exercise and it helps the environment!
- Carpool with friends, family, neighbors, or co-workers whenever possible, whether you’re going shopping, to work, out for a meal, or elsewhere.
- Hop on a bus or train instead of making a significant drive. Obviously, you only save if the fare is less than the gas would cost.
- Drive slower. The faster you go, the more gas you use traveling the same distance.
- Focus on keeping your foot steady on the pedals. Smooth driving and stopping are more fuel efficient than frequently slowing and accelerating or sharp stops.
- Use cruise control on longer drives to keep the vehicle running smoothly and efficiently.
- Pick smart routes. Sometimes, it’s the shortest one. But often, it’s the one with the fewest traffic lights and stop signs, or the one with the least traffic.
- Don’t warm up your car before driving. That idling just wastes gas.
- Don’t leave your car running if you’re waiting in it for more than a minute or two.
- Keep your tires properly inflated. Low air pressure in the tires not only wears them out faster, it also makes your vehicle less fuel efficient.
- Use the air conditioning as little as possible, as it increases gas consumption considerably.
- Change your oil on schedule and make sure you’re using the right type of oil, as specified in the manual. This is important to fuel efficiency.
- Replace filters as needed to keep your vehicle running more fuel efficiently.
- Buy gas early in the morning or at night, when it’s cooler out. As gas gets hotter, it expands, meaning you get less for your money.
- Fill up your tank early in the week. Gas prices tend to rise over the course of the week and peak on Fridays and weekends.
- Stay away from gas stations right off highways, near airports, and near major tourist destinations. They usually have the highest prices.
- Don’t wait till you’re on empty to fuel up, or you may end up having to settle for a more expensive gas station.
- Use the various websites and apps that show you the cheapest gas stations near your location. Put one of these free apps on your phone.
- Check out discount gift card websites like CardCash and Gift Card Granny, where you can sometimes buy cards you can use on gas at a lower price than their value.
- Research gas prices by state before an interstate road trip. Gasoline taxes vary by state, so you may save a good amount by filling up right before leaving one state or waiting till you get to the next one.