We all know that cheap gas is a thing of the past–but it’s not always easy passing by those new boots you want because you need enough money to fill up your car. You may not be able to control today’s gas prices, but there is good news: You can maximize fuel efficiency and save money on gas by following a few of these tips:
Align Your Tires
If your car has poor alignment, you’re going to be spending more money at the pump. Why? Well, poor alignment causes your tires to wear out much more quickly and forces your engine to work harder. By getting your tires aligned, you’ll be saving up to 10 percent, or about 20 cents per gallon of gas.
Change Your Driving Habits
There are some bad habits you can get into that burn more gas than you realize. By making small adjustments, you can see considerable fuel savings. Most of today’s vehicles are built to achieve optimal fuel efficiency around 55 miles per hour. So if you drive too fast or too slow, you won’t be getting the most out of your gas. Accelerating and braking too hard is also hard on fuel economy. This means if you’re tempted to beat the guy next to you who cut you off a la Dale Earnhardt, it can cost you big.
There’s an App for That
Instead of randomly picking a gas station or going by what’s closest to you, download the GasBuddy app to your smartphone to find the cheapest gas prices in your area. You can also use your smartphone to check the traffic before you leave the house to make sure you don’t take the route that’s backed up for 10 miles.
Take Advantage of Discounts
Many stations have coupons available for discounts on gas purchases. They can be found on the back of grocery store receipts (you know, the ones you always throw away), in the coupons you receive by mail and on the Internet. Sometimes you’ll get a discount on gas with the purchase of a car wash or by paying with cash.
If you and your roommate are going to the same place, save money on gas by carpooling with each other. Share your trip to work with a coworker and split the bill. That’s like paying $1.60 for gas that costs $3.20 at the pump. Plus, carpooling is better for the environment!
Walk or Bike
If you need to head to the store that is just a few blocks away, consider taking your bike or walking. This will keep your waistline slim and your wallet fat.
Consider a Rewards Card
If you’re in your car a lot, it would make sense for you to consider getting a gas rewards card, which may even be found at your grocery store. But keep in mind that many of these cards come with high interest rates, so unless you’re capable of paying off your balance each month, this option may not be your best bet.