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A story at Yahoo News reports, “Despite record fuel prices above $3 per gallon, more Americans will travel by car over the Memorial Day holiday weekend than a year ago, according to a survey by travel agency AAA.”
Before you load up and head out for a long holiday weekend, why not complete some quick and simple tasks to help you save some money at the pump?
As promised, following is an in-depth list of do’s and dont’s to help you save money at the pump in a regular gas-powered vehicle.
Here’s the scary thing… some of the most widely known fuel-saving “tips” can actually decrease your fuel efficiency AND cost you more money.
Do you fall prey to such faulty tips?
If you’ve never discovered the website DailyFuel EconomyTip.com, you’re likely spending more money on gas than you need to. But we’ll get around to those tips in a moment.
The FTC has a great interactive tool to help you save money at the pump.
The following are some of their ideas… interjected with some of my own.
To save at the pump, you should:
Keep your tires inflated and balanced properly.
This can increase fuel efficiency by up to 3%.
Change your oil every 3,000 miles.
If oil is changed properly and regularly, friction in your engine’s moving parts is drastically reduced, resulting in better gas mileage and hence, money saved.
Avoid idling your vehicle whenever possible.
When your vehicle is idling, you get 0 MPG! Yeah, because you’re still using gas, but not going anywhere. Try parking to go in the fast-food restaurant rather than idling in the drive-thru.
Remove unnecessary items from your trunk.
Removing an unneeded 100 lbs from the trunk can improve fuel efficiency by up to 2%.
Use the correct octane fuel.
Your owner’s manual recommends the most effective octane level for your vehicle. For most cars, the recommended gasoline is regular octane. In most cases, using a higher octane gas than the manufacturer recommends offers no benefit. Unless your engine is knocking, buying higher octane gasoline is a waste of money.
For more tips on how to save at the pump, check out these 36 tips to save money on gas at WikiHow.
Now, back to the above mentioned site, DailyFuelEconomyTip.com. In preparation for the long Memorial Day weekend, they posted an article titled, Top 4 Ways You’re Wasting Gas When You Think You’re Saving It.
To save at the pump, you should not:
Burn yourself up by driving with the windows down, instead of using the air conditioning.
Why not? “While using it will reduce your gas mileage, there are many instances where using your AC instead of rolling down the windows will actually be better for your car’s gas mileage. One of the biggest drains on your car’s gas mileage is aerodynamic drag — something that is exacerbated by rolling down the windows. If you’re going to drive on the highway, go ahead and turn on your AC and keep the windows up!”
Drive with your tailgate down (if you have a truck, that is).
Why not? “When a truck’s tailgate is up, a “protective air bubble” will form in the bed area which actually makes the truck a little more aerodynamic. When the tailgate is down, this bubble disappears and gas mileage gets worse.”
Why not? “Many people think that the slower they accelerate, the better gas mileage they’re going to get. Unfortunately, extremely slow acceleration can bog down your engine and make it run less efficiently — thus wasting fuel. So, instead of slamming the accelerator to the floor or barely even touching it, try and find a nice happy medium so you can achieve a moderate acceleration.”
So there you have it, an in-depth look at some quick and basic tips to save some green — in both senses of the word. These, however, are but a fraction of gas and money saving tips.
What are some of your favorite ways to save money at the gas pump?
I think every little step toward living green is an awesome one… but eco-snobbery sucks! My goal is to help newbies learn the most important steps toward living green — individually and collectively. Personally, I strive to have as little impact as possible on Planet Earth while I'm here.