Smart Spending

Keeping Down the Price of Gas on Your End of Summer Road Trip

One of the biggest challenges for any family who has plans to take a late summer or fall road trip concerns the price of gas.  Gasoline prices are always in a state of fluctuation, which makes it difficult to determine what you will pay at the pump when the time for your trip nears.   Currently, even before the most recent hurricane warning — Tropical Storm Isaac, the average gasoline price reached the highest level of the summer at a price of $0. 40 more than prices established in early July.

The average price of gas on August 30 is about $3.72 per gallon and climbing across the nation.

Any price increases due to weather concerns should recede as long as the storm does not cause serious damage and prevents closed oil refineries from coming back on line for a period of time. Remember, the further into the fall you plan the trip, the more you distance yourself from the peak driving season.

Fuel Economy Tips

There are a number of approaches you can use to cut your gas cost when on a road trip. For example, if you are a member of Wal-Mart or Costco, find out the location of those gas stations along your route and coordinate you gas purchase at these locations. If you must buy gas elsewhere, try not to purchase at gasoline station off the highway because the price may be higher than surrounding stations.

Following are more suggestions from the Fuel website, which can help you lower gas costs on your road trip:

Driving Sensibly

The website states that aggressive drivers lower their gas mileage by 33 percent on the highway and 5 percent on other roads.  “Aggressive driving” is defined as speeding, braking, and rapid acceleration. This sort of driving also compromises the safety of the driver, passengers, and others. Sensible driving on your road trip saves is cost efficient and makes the trip safer and more enjoyable for everyone.

Follow the Speed Limit

The optimal fuel economy for individual drivers depends on the vehicle.  You can arrive at your destination by driving faster; however,  keep mind that the faster you drive, the more rapidly gas mileage  decreases at speeds exceeding 50 mph. For every 5 miles over 60 mph, drivers pay the equivalent of an additional $0.31 per gallon of fuel.

Avoid Excessive Idling

Studies show that idling a vehicle can use as much as a half gallon of gasoline per hour. Of course the actual amount of fuel consumed depends on the vehicle size, and use of heating or air conditioner.   The website recommends turning off the vehicle when parked. In addition, you can avoid wearing down the starter by turning it off and on repeatedly.

Other Fuel Saving Techniques

Another method for saving gas use the overdrive gear, which reduces the engine speed, saves gas and wear-and-tear on the engine.  You should also employ the vehicle’s cruise control to maintain a constant driving speed – which is another gas saver. In addition, consider taking a more fuel-efficient vehicle if you have a choice.