Adjust how you drive to stretch each tank
When you grab the gas pump, the price you pay is linked to unrest in Africa, the soaring demand for oil in Asia and the vagaries of the stock market.
While you can’t control the price you pay, you can control how and how much you drive, which factor into how much fuel you use each week. With the price of gas rising again–at more than $3 a gallon early this spring–your driving habits are critical to your financial health.
To help conserve fuel and save money, AAA offers a number of tips in its free Gas Watcher’s Guide, which advises motorists on how to stretch each tank of gas.
If you own more than one car–especially if one of your vehicles is a less fuel-efficient truck, sport utility vehicle or van–use the energy-conserving vehicle as often as possible. Also, consolidate trips and errands, and use public transit and carpool when possible.
By focusing on your driving style, you also can conserve fuel. The faster a vehicle travels, the more fuel it burns, so slow down to save gas. Each 5 mph driven over 60 mph is like paying 24 cents more per gallon, according to the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE).
Aggressive driving can lower a car’s fuel economy by up to 33 percent, the DOE reports. If there is a red light ahead, ease off the gas and coast to it rather than waiting until the last second to brake. Once the light turns green, gently accelerate rather than making a quick start.
Keep up-to-date on vehicle maintenance to ensure maximum fuel economy. Change the oil at the manufacturer’s recommended intervals, replace dirty air and fuel filters and keep tires properly inflated.
Finally, drivers equipped with the free AAA TripTik Mobile iPhone application can locate stations on a map and see their prices for gasoline to find the lowest price.
For a free copy of the guide, send a self-addressed, stamped business-size envelope to AAA, Gas Watcher’s Guide, 12901 N. Forty Drive, St. Louis, MO, 63141. To see the guide online, visit AAA.com and click on the news and safety section.