Since September, we’ve seen a steady decline in gas prices, but apparently they’re not falling fast enough. Falling gas prices are typical in fall. Compared to this time last year, the national average price of gas is about $0.70 more per gallon. In Fall 2010, the average cost of gas was $2.71; this year, it’s 3.41.
While gas prices should continue to decrease over the next week, drivers will undoubtedly still be looking for ways to save money on gas. Overall, drivers can save money by practicing safer driving and following their car maintenance guidelines.
Here are some tips to help you increase fuel efficiency:
While your car does use a little bit of gas to turn on, in general, if you are stopped for more than a minute, you’ll use more gas standing than you would use if you turned your car off and back on. So if you are picking up your kids from school or waiting with them at the bus stop for longer than a minute, turn off the car and save gas.
Keep Your Tires Inflated
Properly inflated tires will reduce friction between the tire and the road, allowing you to get better gas mileage. Make sure you fill up to the recommended tire pressure, and then continue to check your pressure with a tire gauge every month.
Follow Maintenance Guidelines
Your car was built to work a certain way, and if you skip getting your vehicle serviced, you might run into more problems than just poor fuel efficiency. Check your driver’s manual to see when you need to change your oil, filter, etc.
Compare Gas Prices
…but don’t go crazy. Look for the cheapest gas prices in the area. However, if you have to drive ridiculously out of the way just to save a couple more cents per gallon, then you’ll probably waste more gas than you end up saving.
The Most Important Tip: Drive Safely
Tailgating is not only dangerous, but it consumes more fuel. Every time the car accelerates, it uses more gas. So when you have to slam on the brakes suddenly, then accelerate suddenly, you’re using more gas than you need to use.
Instead, keep a safer following distance. That way, when traffic ahead slows down or stops, you can ease off the gas and, if necessary, brake gently. Once you have reached the speed limit, the car does not use as much fuel to keep going, since inertia will carry it forward. When you let the car slow down naturally, you won’t waste all that gas you used to accelerate in the first place. Using cruise control can help you maintain your speed.