How do I save on gas. My money saving tips

gas-money.jpgI have speculated if I should write this post for a very long time. There is just so much already written on the subject and it is very hard to add anything new. Nevertheless I decided to do so. Partially because I wanted to have a list of tips that I myself would follow, so to say a TODO list. I intend to update it as I discover more tips over time.

There are several variables you can play with when trying to save on gas. These are your car, the gas you put in, the money you spend, and the trips you make. In addition to listing tips that affect each of these variables, I will also try to measure how effective each technique is based on A to D scale (with A being most effective) and how much effort it requires (with A meaning little effort). Some will say “this very subjective”. Hey, this is my blog! You are free to copy this list and put your own scores. ;-)

Your car

  • Buy an efficient car or a scooter - it is hard to justify selling a car that served you well for many years. Here are some numbers from ConsumerReports that will help you make that decision. Here are my own calculations related to plug-in hybrid. (Effectiveness: B, Effort: C)
  • Carpool or use public transportation - do a research if carpooling or public transportation is an option for you. (Effectiveness: B, Effort: D)
  • Take care of your car - periodically check tire pressure, regularly change oil and the air filter. (Effectiveness: C, Effort: B)
  • Clean your trunk - any extra stuff you carry in your car equals to burned fuel. Remove anything that you don’t need on a daily basis. (Effectiveness: D, Effort: A)
  • Bicycle to work - explore the option of bicycling to work, consider an electric bike if the distance seems unmanageable. (Effectiveness: A, Effort: D)

Your trip

  • Change your driving habits - there are a few simple things that you could follow to drastically reduce your gas consumption. Slow down on highway, keep the distance, don’t accelerate fast, don’t use AC whenever it is cool outside, avoid idling. (Effectiveness: C, Effort: B)
  • Park in the first spot you find - don’t spend precious time and money circling around the parking lot looking for that closest spot to the door. (Effectiveness: D, Effort: A)
  • Move closer to work - this might be barely an options for many, especially considering the slump our housing is in. (Effectiveness: B, Effort: D)
  • Work from home - negotiate with your boss a day when you can work from home. I did exactly this last month and now enjoy the savings. Not only you save on gas, you also save the time on commute. (Effectiveness: B, Effort: B to C)
  • Drive less, walk more - Combine trips or eliminate them entirely (e.g. eat in instead of out). Use this tool to check where to you can get on foot in your neighborhood. (Effectiveness: C, Effort: C)

Your gas

  • Buy the lowest octane gasoline your car will take - check your owner’s manual to see what is good for your car. Using a higher octane may add performance but will wear your engine faster and will cost your in more expensive gas. (Effectiveness: C, Effort: A)
  • Fill up in the morning - gas has slightly lower temperature and higher density in morning hours. This means you get more gas for your buck. (Effectiveness: D, Effort: B)
  • Fill up ahead of holidays - gas prices tend to go up just before holidays. Fill up 2-3 days before to save some cash. (Effectiveness: C, Effort: B)

Your money

  • Shop around for cheaper gas - use websites that compare gas prices in your area. MSN has one which is pretty accurate. (Effectiveness: C, Effort: B)
  • Use cash back credit cards - you can get up to 10% savings when using credit cards for buying gas. Here are some I recommend. (Effectiveness: C, Effort: A)
  • Buy gas on gift cards at grocery stores - some grocery stores that have gas stations will let you buy gift cards at discount. Buy the gift cards on a cash back credit card and then use them to pay for your gas. (Effectiveness: C, Effort: B)

Have you found these tips useful? Which ones did and didn’t work for you? Please share your own money saving tips in the comments.

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