25 Jul

Written by Captain Frugal on July 25, 2008

 Save gas ideas

It’s no secret that gas prices are on the rise and that everyone who drives a car is feeling the pinch at the pump. In fact, the rising cost of fuel seems to be one of the most common topics of conversation today. You can join in with the masses and just gripe about the issue or you can make changes in your life that will allow you to actually save money on gas. If you make those changes, you’ll be joining a great community; there are even groups of people called hypermilers that make it a specific focus of their lives to get at least 100 mpg on each tank of gas in order to reduce what they’re spending at the pump.For those of you who don’t want to just sit around and complain about the coast of gas, here are thirty different things that you can start doing today to use less gas and to spend less when you do have to purchase it:

  1. Make intelligent use of gas rebate cards. If you have good credit then you can get a gas rebate credit card that will give you cash back for the money that you’re spending on gas anyway. Get a good card with a high cash back rate (5-6%). Make sure to use the credit card every time that you buy gas, to always pay the balance off in full each month and to cash in on the rewards regularly.
  2. Take an auto maintenance class. One of the best ways to improve you car’s gas mileage is to always keep the engine tuned and the car in good working condition. Unfortunately, that can get pricey if you have to take your car to a mechanic. Invest in a basic auto class instead so that you can tune the vehicle yourself, improve your gas mileage and save money over the long run.
  3. Fill up the tires with air. Do your research to find out what the optimum tire pressure is for your vehicle. Make sure that you inflate the tires to this level regularly. Low pressure tire results in decreased fuel efficiency of the vehicle. Since air is free (or super cheap), this is an easy one. Some frugal drivers recommended going even higher than recommended tire pressure levels but be aware of safety concerns.
  4. Don’t over-use snow tires or spare tires. You really need to have the right tires on your car to get good gas mileage so take the snow tires off as soon as winter is over and get that spare off as soon as you’ve reached the first place that sells new tires.
  5. Create a gas budget. One of the smartest things that you can do to save money on gas is to be aware of what you’re spending. If you limit yourself to a gas budget each week or month then you’ll be more motivated to reduce what you’re spending on gas.
  6. Know good motor oil. Putting cheap motor oil in your car can cause your gas mileage to decrease significantly and can cost you more in the long run as a result. Find out what motor oil is right for your car and pay up front for the good stuff in order to save costs in the long run. Low-weight motor oil filled just to the low-level mark is ideal.
  7. Understand the air filter. Having a clean, working air filter can increase your car’s gas mileage by up to ten percent. You do the math and you’ll see that this can save you a lot of money at the gas pump. Learn to change the air filter yourself to save on maintenance costs.
  8. Empty out your car. If you’re the kind of person who throws tons of stuff into the trunk of your car and then forgets about it, you’re the kind of person who is spending more than you should be at the gas pump. A lighter car uses less gas so get rid off all the extra junk from your car today.
  9. Offer rides to others. If you’re in a position that allows you to carpool then you can offer rides to others and ask them to pitch in a little for gas. Co-workers or the moms of your kids’ friends may be happy to give you a little to not have to drive themselves and you can put that money towards paying at the pump for trips that you were going to make anyway.
  10. Slow down. Your car has an optimum speed which is usually somewhere between 35 an 55 mph. Research the optimum speed for your car and then try to maintain that speed as often as possible to reduce the amount of gas that you use.
  11. Learn to coast. One of the tricks that hypermilers all use is to avoid accelerating and braking as much as possible. This requires being vigilant on the road, planning ahead and learning to time traffic lights. Of course, if you have to brake for an emergency, you should, but regular use of this technique on the roads can save you big in terms of how often you’ve got to stop for gas.
  12. Choose smart rental cars. Most people just take whatever rental car is offered to them during their travels but you should do your research into the available options and choose the most fuel-efficient car. Also look carefully at the options for returning the car with a partially-full gas tank to determine whether it’s cheaper to take this option or to fill up before returning the car.
  13. Get used to being warm. Most people know that they can increase the fuel efficiency of their cars by turning off the air conditioning. However, you also have to keep the windows rolled most of the way up for this to be most effective. If you can hack it, you can save on gas.
  14. Always park head-first. Gas gets lost every time that you have to back out of a parking spot, switch to drive and then go forward.
  15. Park far away in parking lots. It’s easier to get head-in parking here anyway but you also save on gas because you’re not idling at the front of the store waiting for everyone else that’s up there to get out of the way.
  16. Fill up the gas tank at night. Did you know that you’re going to get more gas in your vehicle if you fill up when it’s cool out than if you do it when it’s hot? This means less trips to the gas station.
  17. Ridge-riding. Did you know that you can increase gas mileage by riding the white line on the highway to avoid the traditional grooves created by other cars? It’s another hypermiler trick. Try it.
  18. Combine trips. You save on gas if you plan your errands out and do them all at once in a methodical manner, starting from the furthest-away point and working back in.
  19. Telecommute to work. If you aren’t driving to the office every day then you aren’t spending so much money on gas. With that savings you can afford some great high speed Internet connections so it’s something to discuss with the boss even if it’s only a part-time deal. Alternatively, ask to switch your work hours to avoid the heavy commute times in your area or to move to a four-day work week.
  20. Take the flat route. Driving on hills and mountains will use more gas so if you know a way around the hills then you should use it.
  21. Wait for the sun to come out. Gas mileage gets worse in bad weather conditions; even small puddles on the road can be a problem.
  22. Keep your car cool. It may be a good idea to drive while it’s sunny but it’s not at all smart to park your car in the sun. Your gas can literally evaporate away in the heat so always try to find covered or shaded parking on hot days.
  23. Ride big bumpers. If you’re driving on a highway and see a big truck, you can get right behind it and reduce some of the wind resistance of the drive. This saves on gas. However, this one is risky since it’s never really that smart to tailgate a massive truck.
  24. Learn where the deals are. It’s easy to check online to see which gas stations have the best gas prices so do that before you go to fill up. Remember to factor in the cost of getting to the gas stations with the best deals, though.
  25. Stay on top of traffic-warning technology. There are advances being made in technology which can give you up-to-date traffic information through your GPS or cell phone. Avoid high-traffic areas to avoid wasted gas.
  26. Never top off the gas tank. You always waste more than you get when you do this.
  27. Buy gas at the smartest times of the week and year. Did you know that gas prices almost always go up a few cents on the weekend and then come down mid-week? Did you know that a few days before major holidays the stations may have a lower gas price than the day immediately before the holiday? Start paying attention to the trends in your area and buy when gas prices are lowest.
  28. Get used to online shopping. If you can do bulk shopping online to keep shipping costs down then you might save money by doing your shopping via the Internet rather than driving around to a bunch of stores every time that you need something.
  29. Buy a new car. Making a big purchase in order to save money in the long run is something that must be thought through carefully but it can be a good choice in this instance. Newer cars with alternative fuel options may be a smart choice for people looking at the cost over the lifetime of the car. Research true costs and compare them with your existing vehicle before choosing this route for saving money.
  30. Use your car less. This one is the most obvious method of saving money on gas and also the most effective but of course it’s the most difficult for many people. Taking public transportation, riding a bike, carpooling and walking to places will all help you see real savings in your monthly gas spending. The hardest part is getting into the habit of doing these things so just bite the bullet and do it now. You’ll be glad later that you did.

Bonus Tip: If you really wanna save on your gas costs move to Caracas, Venezuela, where gas is only $0.12. yes 12 CENTS!!! Wanna find out more? Read our recent post – World Gas CRISIS: Highest (and lowest) Prices From Around The Globe!

9 Comments

  1. 9

    ironman
    July 1st, 2010

    WARNing: Don’t use the mothballs!!!!!!!! true it can increase the ‘force’ of the fuel but had experience with an engine, hot day (110 temp)heading in to sun unaware it had problem with somewhat clogged cooling system & radiator……….for a while. engine burned a valve before the final 35 miles of the 78-mile trip, had to have a cylinder head valve job.
    My late Dad was a Motor Truck Co sergeant(US Army) in the pacific theatre, and later maintained the large stationary diesel power supply generator engines at Murphy Dome, Alaska during the Cold War (absolute neccesity of USA to obtain absolute reliability of your only electric power source for the DEW line Radars, is an example of his kind of knowledge and teaching to me in the field – he was responsible for the generators and men that maintained them) – that’s who I learned a lot from. he never left the mechanic type field all his life I ‘mechanic’ for 30+ years mostly on own stuff (have worked professionally) includes tractor, car (first: mostly original-line 1960’s MOPARs but no Hemis, later many other ‘makes’ incl. a bit of heavy equipment, supervise the shop and fleet mechanics at work, ‘big truck’, etc. I never hire anything like this done incl. front end. still I got ‘surprised’ by mothballs & ‘bigger drier fire’ effect. rubbing alcohol can burn engine valves too as can have same too ‘dry’ in cylinder and heat damages effects. (rubbing alcohol 70% isopropyl *used to* get added to deal with water in car fuel tank) I learned, and have never had another engine or major component failure, period.
    the hydrogen fuel idea really looks good to me but recall that it has a remote relationship to rocket fuels. don’t anyone try to take that next distant step and try for hydrazine (I suspect it’s highly illegal anyway)……look up nazi germany’s use of hydrazine for rocket plane and submarine fuels to avoid limits of engines and batteries. never try to ‘pump it up’ too much, or use hydrazine, try only hydrogen fuel! germany’s results with hydrazine (hydrogen peroxide-related) was explosion deaths of persons, many bad incidents, rocket-plane crashes, and subs that didn’t come home -with all hands lost…..(do you recall the russian sub that went down in the bering strait due to a small hydrazine drip-leak inside a torpedo?? look up the photos of the inside of it when it was brought up — all persons on board, a report said, were directly affected by flying shrapnel even into the rear areas from the explosions in the forward torpedo room! there’s metal bulkheads in between these areas!!!), it’s very powerful and effective, but never try to use hydrazine! it’s too highly explosive maybe worse than nitromethane, and dangerously harder to control. if properly harnessed, hydrazine could probably greatly outperform nitromethane and gasoline/alcohol on the dragstrip!
    hydrazine likely could blow up and wipe out neighbors, etc for a distance. never heard of anyone using regular hydrogen car fuel having that kind of problem.

  2. 8

    Kent Bengtsson
    August 26th, 2008

    Good advice.
    I found a way that increased my mileage with 37%. I made a Hydrogen on Demand System for my car, using instant coffee jars and stuff from the hardware store, and fitted it. Got the info from a manual I bought off the net. It is such a simple idea and so effective, it is no wonder Oil Companies and Governments do not want us to know about it.
    The results will probably vary with different cars, but it works on all internal combustion engines.
    Also, one or two mothballs in a full tank is supposed to make it last longer.

  3. 7

    aullman
    August 7th, 2008

    Option 31 – work remotely from a Remote Office Center located near where you live.

    Remote Office Centers lease individual offices, internet and phone systems to workers from multiple companies in shared centers located around the suburbs. There is a free web site for people who want to find a remote office near where they live:

    Telecommuting has been around for a while, but it has only gained limited acceptance. Telecommuting is like exercising. Some people have no problem working out at home with home equipment. Others will tell you that they can only maintain a good workout routine if they get out of the house and go to the gym every day. It is the same for workers. Some work well from their own home. Others need a place to go and need professional infrastructure. Remote Office Centers give workers a place to go and professional infrastructure – from a location that does not require a long and expensive commute.

  4. 6

    july
    August 2nd, 2008

    Cool article, thank you its very helpful for me cos I don’t understand anything fro cars :D

  5. 5

    Shaun Carter
    July 31st, 2008

    @zeeol – parking head first means pulling forward into the spot in front of the one you pulled into so you can just drive forward out of it when you leave.

    Great article about gas saving tips!

  6. 4

    zeeol
    July 28th, 2008

    one of the points is, “Always park head-first. Gas gets lost every time that you have to back out of a parking spot, switch to drive and then go forward.” But isn’t gas lost when you back in? Does this make any sense?

  7. 3

    paul
    July 27th, 2008

    Great tips and really simple ways to save gas. Until the electric car is in mass production these are needed.

  8. 2

    John
    July 26th, 2008

    I like your article. I hope you don’t mind me adding it to my blog. -John

  9. 1

    Ric
    July 25th, 2008

    These are very great practical tips!

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