Driving Habits that Save Money

With the high cost of gas, our daily commutes are getting more and more expensive. That’s why you’ll want to do everything you can to lessen the impact of getting around. Fortunately, there are a number of things we can do to reduce the costs associated with driving. Here are five:

Drive the Speed Limit

The slower you drive, the less gas you’ll use. Studies have shown that for every 5 miles per hour that you reduce your speed, you’ll see a 7 percent reduction in fuel consumption.

Drive Steady

Avoid abrupt starts and stops, which use more fuel than steady, controlled driving habits. Gunning the engine uses excess fuel, so when you’re merging onto the interstate, for instance, gradually increase your speed until you’re traveling at the speed limit. And avoid too much passing of other cars, as well, since each time you pass you’re using more fuel than you would be if you were going a steady pace. Use your cruise control to help you maintain a steady, fuel-saving speed.

Maintain your Engine

Getting regular oil changes and other scheduled engine maintenance will make your car more fuel efficient. A clean air filter, for instance, can improve your gas mileage by as much as 10 percent, saving you approximately 20 cents per gallon. And regular tune-ups will do wonders for your fuel efficiency, as well.

Take Care of your Tires

Properly inflated, aligned and maintained tires will also save you gas money. Tires that are under-inflated by 7.5 pounds, for example, will cause a 2.8 percent loss in fuel efficiency. If you’re not sure what your tires should be inflated to, check your owner’s manual. Also keep tabs on the tread wear and make sure to replace your tires when necessary.

Ensure Your Gas Cap is Working

Faulty, loose and broken gas caps can cause a dramatic loss in fuel efficiency. There have been estimates, in fact, that as many as 17 percent of vehicles on the road have problems with their gas caps. When these caps don’t fit properly or are broken, they can cause evaporation of fuel, leading to air pollution and an increase in fuel consumption. If you’re not sure yours is in good working order, ask your mechanic next time you’ve got your car in for service.

The best way to save money on driving costs, of course, is not to drive at all. So consider carpooling whenever possible or, better yet, walking or riding a bike. You’ll be saving money on gas and staying in shape at the same time.