It seems like every time I go to the gas station, the prices are even higher than the last time.
Unless you live in a city with public transportation, you are likely to drive everywhere, whether its work, the grocery store or shuttling the kids to school. All of this driving can mean filling up the tank several times throughout the week.
Here are eight easy tips to keep your fuel expenses down:
1. Ease up on the gas: Fuel efficiency decreases rapidly at speeds above 60 mph. The faster you drive, the more gas you use per mile; each 5 mph you drive over 60 will cost an extra 10 cents per gallon! Lighten up on the accelerator for heavy savings on gas bills. Observing the speed limit is safer too.
2. Stay current on vehicle maintenance: The right levels of fluid, such as coolant and transmission fluid, ensure that your car runs efficiently. This saves money at the pump and helps keep costly repairs to a minimum, as low fluid levels put more strain on those parts.
3. Keep a regular route: If you drive to work each day, be sure to determine the most fuel efficient route to your destination. Did you know that you can burn gallons of gas on rush-hour highways that seem more like parking lots? Choose a route with less traveled side roads; even though you may travel a few miles further, you will keep moving and use less gas.
4. Avoid filling your tank on the highway: Whether you are taking a long journey or a quick trip, make sure your tank is filled before you get on the highway. Gas prices typically are about .06 cents per gallon higher at easy-on/ easy-off service stations. If you have a 30-gallon tank, that is an extra $1.80 per fill-up.
5. Use air conditioning strategically: When scooting around town on your weekly errands, roll down your windows and soak up the sun. This gives your air conditioning a rest and gains up to 10 percent more fuel efficiency. Keep in mind, when you travel on the highway, it's more fuel efficient to turn on your A/C and roll up the windows. Driving with the windows open creates wind resistance, causing the car's engine to burn more gas than it takes to run the air conditioner.
6. Opt for a smooth ride: Avoid "jack rabbit" starts from traffic lights. These sudden starts, along with hard-braking stops, only reduce travel time by about 4 percent. That's equal to only two minutes on a 60-minute trip; however it causes fuel consumption to increase by 33 percent!
7. Coordinate a car pool: Don't wait for gas prices to rise before putting together a car pool for work. If you share a ride with four people, your gas bill becomes 33 percent smaller. Carpooling means entertainment on an otherwise monotonous commute and reduced stress levels since you aren't always driving.
8. Bundle your errands: Arrange your schedule to run errands more efficiently. Plan your daily or weekly errands along one route, and group errands in destinations that are close to one another. Once you arrive, park and walk. Cutting back on the number of times you start your car increases fuel efficiency.
* Get more advice from The Debt Diva at www.TheDebtDiva.com.