Monday, April 18, 2022

Three Things You Can Do To Save Big At The Pump

Tim Gamble 

Looking for ways to save money at the pump? Considering today's prices, and the likelihood for even higher prices in the near future, most of us would like to find some savings. Here are three major changes you can make that will mean savings at the pump. 

Change the way you maintain your vehicle. A properly-maintained vehicle can easily use 10% to 20% less gasoline than a poorly-maintained one. Instead of thinking about vehicle maintenance as a chore that is easily put off, look forward to it as an opportunity to save big money. Here are some things you should be doing on a regular basis, being sure to check your owner's manual for the manufacturer's recommendations for your specific vehicle:

   1. Make sure your tires are properly inflated (check weekly). 

   2. Check tire rotation & balance (every six months). 

   3. Change oil & oil filter (typically every 3000 - 5000 miles). 

   4. Change the air filter (yearly or as needed). 

   5. Service the fuel injection system (yearly or according to owner's manual). 

   6. Change the fuel filter (yearly or as needed). 

   7. Get a tune-up (yearly or according to owner's manual). 

   8. Service transmission (yearly or according to owner's manual). 

   9. Replace faulty emissions components and oxygen sensor (as needed). 

   10. Have the front end aligned (as needed). 

Change the way you drive. Be more peaceful and relaxed in your driving style, confident that doing so will save you lots of money. Fast and aggressive driving results in significantly lowered gas mileage. Also, the less weight and wind resistance you drive with, the better your gas mileage will be. Here are some tips:

   1. Leave early enough so that you don't have to rush to get where you are going. 

   2. Don't speed. The faster you drive, the more gas you burn.

   3. Use cruise control whenever possible (this one can make a huge difference). 

   4. Drive evenly. Avoid jack-rabbit starts & sudden stops. Don't weave in & out of traffic. 

   5. Whenever possible, coast downhill and don't accelerate uphill. 

   6. Avoid rush-hour traffic to avoid time idling. 

   7. Clean out the trunk. Less weight means better gas mileage. 

   8. Remove rooftop carriers. Less wind resistance means better gas mileage. 

   9. Generally speaking, use the air conditioner only for highway driving (over 45 mph with few stops) and instead roll your windows down when driving around town (under 45 mph with lots of stops). 

Change why you drive. Don't think about driving as a wonderful convenience, instead look on it as a means of last resort. Enjoy the fact that whenever you don't drive, you are saving lots of money. Driving less is simply the best way to use less gas. Here are some tips for driving less:

   1. Avoid driving whenever possible. Instead walk, bike, or take a bus or train (easier in urban areas than in the country - one of the few advantages city folk have over country folk). 

   2. Join or start a car pool to work, or consider telecommuting if it is possible for your job. 

   3. Share a ride with a neighbor to the market, church or school. 

   4. Don't fall for society's obsession with being constantly "on the go." There is nothing wrong with staying at home, and your kids don't have to be enrolled in organized activities every day of the week. 

   5. Learn to get much of your entertainment at home. Start a family game night. Get together with the neighbors for a weekend cookout or a video night. 

   6. Plan ahead and combine errands so that you make fewer trips. 

   7. Use lists and stock up on items you frequently use so that you don't have to make a special trip just to pick up something you forgot or unexpectedly ran out of. 

   8. Long commute? Consider getting a job closer to home or moving closer to work. 


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  1. Most people fill their gas tanks when the price of gas is dropping and buy only a few gallons when the price is going up. This is backwards. Buy smaller amounts when the price is dropping every few days and only fill up when when the price starts to climb again. When putting gas in your tank pump it in slowly so as not to get a lot of air in the gas as it flows through the meter on the pump. More air means more volume to the fuel. Why pay for air? Less gas in your tank also means less weight to have to carry so better gas mileage.

  2. Most people fill-up when the price of gas is dropping and only buy a few gallons when the price is rising. Do the opposite and buy small amounts of fuel when the price continues dropping and fill-up as soon as there is a rise in price. When only buying small amounts of fuel keep the tank half full or less because a full tank is just more weight that the engine has to pull and therefore use more fuel. When putting fuel into the tank do it slowly so that the pump is not mixing a lot of air with the fuel. The pumps meter is measuring fuel mixed with air. Who wants to pay for air?

  3. Maintenance:
    #2 That is according to mileage not a time period. Usually 5,000 miles. Buy the tires from a company that offers free tire rotation for a small fee paid when you buy the tires and you can save even more money.
    #3 Synthetic oil may cost less over the long run because the synthetic oil does have a longer life.
    #4, #6 and #7 These are like the recommendations when I started driving 60 years age. It doesn't have to be this often. New technology and spark plug types perform better and last longer.

    Driving habits:
    #3 Absolutely!
    Consider buying a vehicle with overdrive, that can have a real positive impact on gas mileage.

  4. We live in the country, go twice a month to the city for groceries, wally world, 'scripts and wine. If needed we can hit a local market for milk or bananas. But otherwise we have so much to do around our homestead that we don't miss going out and about more often. Though spouse does golf (2 miles ftom home) and a friend and I will hit 2nd hand stores once a month.


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