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How to Save Money on Gas

Sailee Kale
Gas prices have skyrocketed over the past few years. Saving money on gas is by far the main concern for motorists today. Let us take a look at some ways on how to save money on gas.
You may want to think twice before going for a summer vacation or planning a long drive in the face of the steep fuel prices and the global meltdown. But if you plan well and think ahead, there are several ways you can cut down on the money you spend on gas, from using efficient driving techniques to buying a fuel-efficient car.

Efficient Driving Habits

Use cruise control if you are on a highway for better fuel economy.
Maintain correct tire pressure. Under-inflated tires use up excess gas. Properly aligned tires give better mileage.
Do not drive above the posted speed limits. You will get decreased mileage if you drive over 60 miles per hour.
Buy regular octane gas. Go through the owner's manual and check what the suggested octane level is for your car. Avoid buying premium gas if your car does not require it.
Overdrive gearing reduces the speed of your engine, which makes it run more efficiently, and in turn helps to save on gas.
Keep the air conditioning off for city drives, instead roll down the windows. Park your car in the shade or use windshield shade if you park in the sun. It will keep the car cool and you would not need to use the air conditioning when you get back in.
But if you are on a highway, roll up the windows. Open windows increase the wind drag that uses up more fuel.
Avoid jack-rabbit starts. It results in faster wear and tear of the tires. It will also save you and others from the annoying noise the screeching tires make. Gently use the gas pedal to accelerate when starting from a dead stop. Do not accelerate suddenly and avoid a hard slamming on the brakes.
Reduce unnecessarily idling. If you anticipate a long wait (more than 30 seconds), turn off the engine. Idling the car will cost you more gas than switching the engine off and back on again. In colder months, warming up does not require more than 30 seconds. This holds true especially for modern cars.
Never tailgate. Maintain a good distance between your car and the vehicle in front of you, so you do not have to brake every time the car ahead slows down.
If you do not spot a parking space quickly, park your car at a distance and walk up to your destination. Searching for a parking spot is a waste of time and money.
Avoid revving the engine. It can cause friction and wear and tear of the gears.

Maintaining Your Car

Regular tune-up of the engine is very important. Check the driver's manual for proper instructions and increase your gas mileage with a well-tuned engine.
Replace air filter regularly. A clogged filter will reduce engine efficiency by hampering air flow.
Change the oil as per the instructions in the manual. It will keep the engine functioning smoothly by getting rid of harmful matter. Use manufacturer-recommended grade of oil.
Loose and missing gas caps lead to evaporation of the gas. Close the gas cap tightly to avoid wastage.
Inspect regularly for leaks in the gas tank. Even small leaks can lead to big fuel waste in the long run.
Check for spark plugs. An overused spark plug can lower the car's efficiency. Replace the spark plug regularly as per the manual for optimum performance.

Other Alternatives

Choosing a fuel-efficient car is crucial. If you are in the market to buy a new car, choose from cars that give good mileage. If possible, buy a smaller car. They weigh less and are more fuel-efficient.
Run an online search to find a gas station near you which sells gas at a cheaper rate.
Combine errands. Plan a single trip for all your chores and preferably drive during off-peak hours. Choose a road that will have less traffic.
Discard or store away all the extra junk your car is carrying. All the excess weight increases fuel consumption, so if you don't really need it, get it out of the car.
Look up the yellow pages, or run a search on the Net for the appropriate stores that offer what you need so you need not visit several stores and waste gas, which will save time and money during the commute.
Check traffic reports before you leave. It can save you substantial time and you can avoid incessant snarls and opt for roads with faster and lesser traffic.
Do not buy gas during the weekend or holidays; gas stations invariably hike the rates during holidays.
Carpooling is an excellent way to save on money and gas. Whether its school or office, carpooling is beneficial, since you save on tolls, fuel, and time taken to find parking spaces, and it's definitely more fun when you have company on your way to work!
Use public transport. It's definitely the cheaper way out. If the destination is within walking distance from home, WALK! Not only is it economical, it's advantageous to your health too! Or leave the car at home and just use your bike to run small errands.
Make use of credit cards that offer cash back when you make a purchase at the gas station. Membership cards offered by some stores offer good discounts when used at gas stations.

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These are some things you can do to save on the ever-increasing gasoline prices. Gas bills make up a significant part of our budgets, so follow these steps and you could not only be saving money for yourself, but also helping the planet stay clean and green by reducing carbon emissions.