Paying at the pump is painful these days. According to the American Automobile Association, fuel prices in California broke a prior 2012 record on November 27, coming in at an average of $4.71 per gallon for regular unleaded. Utah isn’t much better off: the Beehive State comes in ninth-highest in the nation at $3.66. Talk about sticker shock!
Maximizing every dollar — and therefore every mile — becomes especially critical when budgets are tight, families are eager to reconnect and time off work presents an opportunity to travel. For many people, automobile travel scaled back sharply in 2020, and it seems that people are now making up for it by getting out as much as they can in 2021.
What’s the best way to save money on gas? Your fuel-saving strategy is likely to include a combination of techniques in three different categories: your car, your travel habits and your driving behavior. Below you’ll find some tips within each of the categories.
How to Save on Gas
For most passenger cars, the recommended tire pressure ranges from 32 to 35 pounds per square inch. In the United States, a tire pressure monitoring system became mandatory for vehicles produced after September 2007. If you drive an older vehicle, you’ll want to check your pressures the old-fashioned way with a handheld gauge.
Get a tune-up. Over time, regular use contributes to diminished efficiency of your car’s motor. According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency, a drivetrain that is properly tuned can contribute to a fuel economy gain of upwards of 4%. Keep an eye on the condition of your spark plugs, air filter and motor oil. You’ll save on gas as a result.
Lighten the Load
Ditch anything you might not need to be lugging around in the cabin (or on the rooftop). This applies to ski racks that can give you an aerodynamic disadvantage when not needed. The more easily you slip through the wind, the more money you’ll save on gas.
Driving Tips to Save Gas
One of the easiest ways to save money on gas is to be smart about how often, when and where you are driving. Traveling at off-peak/low-traffic times, combining trips and generally avoiding crowded roadways are great ways to save on gas. Consider downloading a smartphone app like GasBuddy, which gives GPS-based information about fuel prices in your immediate area.
Travel Habits to Increase Fuel Efficiency
Cruise control is your friend! Whenever possible, strive to maintain a constant speed on surface streets or the interstate. Changing the pace leads to added work for your car’s motor and therefore increased fuel consumption. Also, keep the speeds low for max efficiency.
Avoid idling whenever possible. In some vehicles, a 15-minute drive-through wait can burn a quarter-gallon of gas. Better yet, park the vehicle and go inside if you can.
Consider a Trade-Up
Ready to replace your gas guzzler with a new ride altogether? Consider a hybrid for your next car, or even a plug-in hybrid designed to provide an all-electric range of travel before needing to sip from the gas tank. As of summer 2021, there were 35 different new plug-in hybrid vehicles available for sale in the United States.
When you’re ready to browse listings, KSL Cars offers search filter criteria for Fuel Type, and there are over 1,000 hybrid models currently listed for sale. Check and see if you find something that fits the bill for your needs.