Seven Simple Ways To Save Money On Gas

by : Gary Ruplinger

Looking for ways to save money on gas that won't require you to go out and spend more money just so you can save a few bucks at the pump.

If you have a perfectly good vehicle, then spending $25k on a new hybrid car just so you can save $10 when you fill up at the pump might not be such a good deal.

Also, if you're not the type that wants to install any of those "gas saving" devices in your car, then this list is for you.

Whether or not you have any mechanical skills, you can use these no brainier methods to start saving money on gas right now - even if you don't know how to change a tire.

1 - Get A Gas Card

Want a tip that will save you money every single time you fill up at the pump no matter what vehicle you drive? It's a gas card. Just about every major gas station offers their own brand of gas credit card that will allow you to save 3-5% on all your gas purchases at their gas stations. Forget about the branded gas cards and get one that will save you 5% on gas no matter where you fill up, like the Discover Open Road Card. Just remember, pay it off every month or it won't save you any money.

Saving 5% off every gallon of gas means that $3/gallon gas now costs only $2.85 and $4/gallon becomes $3.80. If you have a 25 gallon tank, you'd save $3.75 every time you filled up ($3/gallon gas).

A lot of people use a credit card when filling up at the pump anyway since it's easy and convenient. You may as well get a gas card so it's easy, convenient, and saving you money.

2 - Avoid Aggressive Driving

Hitting the gas hard when the light turns green and braking hard will make your car drink gas faster than a drunk at an open bar at a wedding. If you were to drive away from a stop at a more moderate pace, accelerate in traffic more slowly, and anticipate when you're going to need to brake ahead of time so you can do so slowly, you're going to save a lot of gas - up to 37% - about the same buying a hybrid car but this tip won't cost you anything. (oh yeah, it's safer too)

3 - Use Your Cruise Control

Personally, I won't buy a car if it doesn't have cruise control, since it means I don't have to worry so much about keeping my speed constant. However, cruise control also had the added benefit of saving you gas too. On average, you'll save about 7% more gas than if you don't use cruise control.

4 - Slow Down

Sure, going fast can be fun. It can also get you a nice collection of speeding tickets, but more importantly, the faster you drive the more gas you use. I'm not saying that you need to drive like your grandmother, but slowing down from 75 to 65 can you 12% on you gas bill, and unless you're driving across the country, the time difference in getting where you're going will be minimal.

5 - Stop Idling

Having the car running when it's not moving wastes gas.

I remember being taught when I was first learning to drive that you should let your car warm up for a few minutes before driving it anywhere when it's cold outside. While that may be true for older cars, modern cars don't need warm up time before being ready to drive. Don't drive like a maniac (see #2) before you car is completely warmed up and you'll be fine.

If you going to be sitting and waiting some place without moving for more than about a minute, turn off the engine. It probably goes without saying that if you can avoid rush hour traffic, you should.

Also, one great place to sit and waste gas is your local fast food drive-thru. Get off your lazy butt, get out of your car and go inside to get your food.

6 - Plan Ahead

Instead of driving to the gym, going home, driving to work, driving home, driving to the store, and then home again, start combining trips whenever possible. This is really easy to do if you just think ahead. Avoid just spontaneously hopping in the car and driving to the store to pick up some milk and eggs. Think about what else you can do if you're going to be out running errands anyway so that you can avoid another trip later.

5 You got legs - use'em

Really want to save money on gas? Then use your legs. A lot of trips aren't really that far, and while it takes a little longer to walk somewhere than to drive there, it's a good chance to get outside, get some fresh air and get some exercise in the process. It's really not necessary to drive absolutely everywhere unless you happen to live in the middle of nowhere. So get yourself a comfortable pair of tennis shoes and start walking instead of driving when you can.

Also, a bicycle is a nice compromise between the two, and can actually be faster to get some places than a car. I remember when I was in college and moved off campus - although we lived almost 2 miles from campus, it was a lot faster for me to take my bicycle to go to class than to take my car.