With the recent rise in gas prices, many families are finding that their gas expenses have dramatically increased for the same amount of miles driven. Since gas prices don’t appear to be going down any time soon, the best way to reduce the amount of money that you spend on gas each month is to use less gas and find the best price on the gas you purchase.
Reduce the Number of Miles You Drive
One of the best ways to save money on gas is to drive less miles every week. Combine car trips and try to never pull your car out of your driveway for a single purpose. Instead of running out in the evening to the store, pick up your groceries on the way home from work. If you and your neighbor are both going to the same book club, be sure to ride together.
Calculate how much each car trip is going to cost and then ask yourself if the additional cost is worth it. If your children want to go to a playground across town, but it will be an extra $10 in gas then you may want to opt for the playground across the street.
Many people who previously drove their own car to work are now looking into carpools, van pools and public transportation. Ordering online using free shipping through coupons or an Amazon Prime Membership is also good way to save money driving between stores.
Keep Your Car Maintained
Cars that are properly maintained will use less gasoline, which translates into less money out of your pocket. The U.S. Department of Energy recommends that keeping your engine properly tuned, your tires properly inflated and using the recommended grade of oil. Each of the measures will increase your gas efficiency from 1 to 3 percent alone and combined will help you save even more.
Use Public Transportation or Carpool
Public transportation can be a great way to save money on commuting. Explore options in your city, including buses and trains. Some towns even offer a van pool program where commuters can use a public transportation van to drive from the same geographic area into work and simply split the costs. Check to see if your employer offers any commuting vans or reimbursement for public transportation.
Ask around your office or neighborhood to see if there is anyone who would be interested in setting up a carpool. Another option to investigate is casual carpooling, which is especially popular in the Washington, D.C. and San Francisco Bay areas. Passengers congregate in designated pick up spots and drivers give rides to passengers heading to their destination without prior arrangement. Casual carpool sites are organized through websites, such as Casual Carpool News for the Bay Area.
If you are using transportation that does not run consistently , such as a bus or carpool, be sure you have a back-up transportation plan for the unexpected, such as needing to pick up a sick kid from school.
Buy the Cheapest Gas
Gas station prices can vary widely, even within a few blocks of each other. Take the time to make sure that you are paying the least amount possible per gallon each time you head to the pump. Popular apps include Local Gas Prices and Cheap Gas. Gas Buddy is also available both as app and website. Be sure to plan fill-ups ahead to take advantage of the lowest priced stations. If you are in need of gas, but only more expensive options are nearby, buy a small amount of gas and then head to a lower priced station to fill up.
Drive the Speed Limit
While driving the speed limit is important for safety, it can also help you decrease the amount of gas you use. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, gas mileage goes dramatically down when traveling above 60 mph. “You can assume that each 5 mph you drive over 60 mph is like paying an additional $0.31 per gallon for gas,” the department website says.