Smart Spending

How to Save Money on Gas- and How Much Can You Really Save?

Gas prices are higher than ever and you may find that the cost of keeping fuel in your vehicle is taking a big bite out of your budget. If you are concerned about the expenses associated with gassing up your car, there are a few things that you should keep in mind to help you save on gas.

Tips to Save on Gas

The amount that you can save on gas is going to vary depending upon your vehicle’s gas mileage and your current driving habits. However, some of the best ways to reduce what you are spending on gas in your monthly budget include the following:

  • Change your spark plugs frequently.  During the last 20 percent of a spark plugs life, you can expect both misfires and incomplete combustion, all of which can be a tremendous waste of fuel. While spark plugs may last up to 100,000 miles if they were premium plugs, changing your spark plugs at 75,000 miles could save you as much as $450 a year in fuel costs by avoiding wasted fuel.
  • Change your air filter every 10,000 miles. A clogged and dirty filter can reduce the efficiency of your vehicle by as much as 10 percent. Changing your air filter on time and keeping it clean can end up saving you about $250 a year as compared with the cost of driving with a dirty filter.
  • Fill up all at once. While you might want to try to time your gas purchase to a drop in the prices, the reality is that you cannot be sure when that is going to occur. You don’t want to put in small amounts every time you go to the gas station because that means you’ll waste fuel driving to the station much more often. Instead of topping up your tank in between fills or putting in just a few gallons, you should drive until you are down to about a quarter of a tank and then fill your gas tank up completely full when you stop for gas.
  • Make sure your tires are at the manufacturer’s recommended pressure. Tire pressure should be checked every few weeks to ensure that the pressure is at the optimum recommended level. Not only can this help you to save on fuel but it can also help you to avoid safety problems associated with poor tire pressure.
  • Slow down. Gas mileage decreases rapidly when you are driving at speeds above 50 miles per hour, so don’t drive faster than you need to (or faster than the speed limit). Every mile that you drive in excess of 50 miles per hour is basically the equivalent of adding 25 cents onto the price of a gallon of gas, so be sure it is worth it.

Following these tips should help you to lower the amount of money you spend on gas and leave you with more room in your budget. You may also wish to consider making fuel economy a priority when you purchase your next vehicle. This can mean buying a smaller car, or even opting for a hybrid or electric vehicle when you are ready to trade in your existing ride.