There’s no delicate way to put things… gas prices are high! Every trip to the pumps means more heartache for your wallet. Saving fuel is one way you can keep more of your hard-earned money in your pocket. While leaving your car at home in favor of walking or public transportation is the best way to save money on gas, many of us like to drive to our destinations and learning ways to save money on gas can benefit any car owner. Below are 8 tips to help you save money on fuel costs by driving smarter and treating your car right.

1. Stop Speeding
Perhaps the most common way people waste gas is by driving too fast. Most notably, it’s the rapid acceleration and sudden braking that are going to drain your gas tank. Instead of sudden accelerations and quick braking, try driving at lower speeds that do not put your car through havoc. This will result in as much as 33 percent savings on gas during highway travel. Even a switch to driving 55 mph when the speed limit says 65 will result in 10-15 percent fuel savings.

2. Minimize the use of Air Conditioning
While it’s tempting to throw on the air conditioner for any hot day, it uses a lot of gas. If it’s under 85 degrees, just let the windows down and hope for a cool breeze. Instead of using the A/C, set the temperature gauge of your air on cool without turning on the air conditioner. Crank up the vent, let the windows down and enjoy the approximate 20 percent savings on your gas bill by leaving the air conditioner off.

3. Keep Your Car as Light as Possible
Some people have a tendency to keep a lot of junk in their car, especially in the trunk. A heavy car is going to force your engine to work harder and a harder working engine requires more fuel. It’s not just heavy items inside the car that add to your miles per gallon. Make sure to remove roof and bike racks from your car if you’re not using them.

4. Reduce Idling
Always remember to turn off your car when it is parked. That’s because an idling car car burn anywhere from a quarter to half-gallon of gas in just one hour. There is a misconception that you should let your car run before driving, especially in the wintertime. If your car is newer, it probably doesn’t require more than 30 seconds to warm-up and get going. Instead, start your car up and drive away as soon as you can see through the windshield. In addition to wasted gas, idling also increases emissions that are bad for the environment.

5.  Use Cruise Control
Maintaining a consistent speed when travelling over a long distance is a fantastic way to save on gas. Gunning the car or speeding up quickly causes the vehicle to burn through gas quicker. Using your cruise control, or maintaining a steady speed on your own while highway driving can help save on gas.

6. Check Your Tires
People don’t often equate tire inflation with gas mileage but ignoring your tires could cost you at the pump. Ensuring that your tires are properly inflated will cut the amount of gas you use by about 3 percent. Tires low on air have increased resistance when rolling, ultimately using more gas, not to mention the increased wear on your tires and the likelihood that you’ll be shopping for new ones soon. Get yourself a tire gauge and use it at least once a month to check for proper inflation.

7. Plan Your Trips Well
There are some ways a poorly planned trip can cost you in gas mileage. If you take the main route everyone else takes, you could end up in congested traffic. Being stuck in traffic will undoubtedly cause engine idling, quick starts and quick stops. Adjust your driving times to avoid the highest volume of traffic. Whenever possible, choose the driving route less traveled, as you’ll be less likely to meet heavy traffic.

8. Love Your Car and Save
Gas prices are not cheap and they may continue to rise. You need to commute to work, the gym, soccer practice with the kids, the grocery store, etc. Every dime you can save at the pump helps, and these steps do not need a great deal of effort. Treat your car well, and you will notice the gas savings almost instantly!

From Car Keys Magazine, April 2014.

Eagle Ridge GM