Smart Spending

5 Tips to Improve Gas Mileage on Your Summer Car Trips

The good news is that gas prices have been going down recently. The bad news is that it has not yet gone down far enough to make traveling really cheap. This means that it is up to you to find ways to improve gas mileage and any other costs along the way that you can. Even if the prices are not as low as you would like, there still are a number of ways that you can save money on gas, which will enable you to enjoy more trips this summer – or anytime.

Shop Around for Best Gas Prices

When you are on the road, you are only going to see the prices of gas at the places you pass – unless you have a special phone app or ability to access the Web as you travel. Many websites are available that will show you where the best deals are on gas as you travel. Also, by watching the signs on the road, you can find advertised gas prices along the way, which will enable you to buy gas cheaper.

Use a Credit Card for Gas Purchases

Many credit cards will give you a discount on gas if you pay for your gas with them. The Federal Trade Commission says that you can get between two to five percent cash back rebates with some credit cards. Of course, you will only save money with a credit card if you pay it off when you get the bill – otherwise the interest will eat up your savings.

Avoid Unnecessary Idling of the Engine

Cars today do not need to have time to warm up. All you need to do is to start the engine and go. This can help you save money on gas. Parking in the shade on a hot summer day can also mean that you can get in and go without wasting a lot of time getting the car cool first.

Drive Conservatively

If you tend to drive aggressively, which includes rapid acceleration and braking, as well as speeding, says, you will get 33 percent less gas mileage on the highway, and around five percent less when driving around town. Obeying the speed limit also helps get better gas mileage, as well, and it costs you about twenty-six cents more per gallon for every five mph you drive above 50.

Use the Cruise Control

If you are a more aggressive driver, using the cruise control can help you maintain a more regular speed and increase gas mileage. The car experts at, tested various methods to save gas, and found that this simple tip will help you save as much as an average of seven percent.

One thing that Edmunds found that did not help was the difference between driving with your air conditioner on and the windows up, versus no air conditioning and the windows down. Surprisingly, they found no measureable difference, so they simply recommended just “make yourself comfortable.”

Another thing that surprisingly made an insignificant difference was tire pressure. This surprised the team at Edmunds, however, but they did point out that you will be able to save on tire costs by keeping them properly inflated.

Keep Your Engine Tuned

Keeping your engine tuned will also make a big difference in helping you to improve gas mileage. says that when there are engine problems, such as a clogged air filter, it can reduce your gas mileage by about two to six percent. An engine with a more serious problem, such as a faulty oxygen sensor can reduce its mileage performance by as much as 40 percent.