Fuel prices are going up, up, up. By this summer, the experts say gas will be above $4.00 a gallon. That doesn’t bode well for the summer vacation season. And for those on an already too-tight budget, a serious increase in gasoline prices can put more than a little cramp in their lifestyle.
Though we can’t do anything about the prices of gas, we can tweak our habits to make the impact of high fuel prices less severe.
Keeping track of gas prices in your area will let you know when and where to fill up your car. I like www.gasbuddy.com to follow the gas prices in my area. I don’t necessarily drive all the way across town, so I can fill up with the cheapest fuel, but if I’m heading across town anyway, it’s worth it to make a stop where gas prices are low.
Make sure you take advantage of membership cards, too. Costco members can usually get good deals on gas, and often supermarket gas stations have special rates for their loyalty card carriers.
Fuel up when your tank is about 1/4 full. If you wait until your gas tank is empty, you’ll be forced to gas up at the nearest gas station, not the most economical.
Change Your Habits
Your driving habits can have a big effect on how much money you spend on fuel. If you run to the store everyday, you’ll be spending a pretty penny on gasoline. Try to consolidate your errand running to one or two days a week. Map out a route, so you aren’t driving back and forth across town. The more you consolidate your errands, the less you drive, and the more you save.
If you work outside the home, try to carpool or take public transportation. Sure, it costs money to take the city bus, but as fuel prices go up, bus fair becomes a better deal.
Riding your bike is another good option to save on gas, especially as the weather gets better. It’s great exercise, too!
Give Your Car a Checkup
Cars that are running well will burn less fuel than those in disrepair. Giving your car a tuneup can increase your gas mileage. At the very least, make sure your tires are inflated properly. Tires that are at the wrong tire pressure are known to greatly increase the rate of fuel consumption. If you’ve been putting off regular maintenance of your car, now might be a good time to get it done.
Extreme Gas Saving Measures
The last time gas prices rose to $4.00 a gallon levels, articles about buying fuel efficient cars and hypermiling seemed to explode.
While I’m not going to discourage buying a fuel efficient vehicle, don’t do it solely to combat today’s high fuel prices. Gas prices cycle up and down, and buying a Prius probably won’t be cost effective, if you’re doing it just for the gas savings. If you’re in the market for a new vehicle anyway, a hybrid might be worth your consideration. But don’t trade in your current car, if you weren’t planning on doing it before fuel prices went up.
Hypermiling is another word I’ve heard thrown around lately. Hypermiling is using driving techniques that give you the most miles per gallon. Unfortunately, unless you know what you’re doing, hypermiling might increase your chances of getting in a wreck, which would definitely negate any fuel savings you might see. Saving money is a good thing, but not at the expense of safety. Please drive carefully!
I forgot to mention, one of the grocery stores in town offers a certain percentage off gas depending on how much you spend. I can buy a water for 1 dollar and save 3 on gas. The more you spend on groceries the more you save!
Fifi @ fififrugality.blogspot.com
Seems old fashion, but my co-worker and I carpool! She lives only a few block away, and every other week of not driving really pays off!
Fifi @ fififrugality.blogspot.com
The ideal would be a safe, fast and comfortable public transportation system! That would ideally mean no gas costs for you and it would also be a way of bringing people together.
Have missed you blogging more often! I am wondering how the debt free goal is going. Your page said you were hoping to be debt free by June ’11. Still true? We are working on ours but its going to be another 18 months before we can be debt free minus the mortgage. Anyhow, thought of you since I have enjoyed reading your site for many years. I also homeschool and I thought that once you started homeschooling your kids, your site may suffer. Its very time consuming, yes? Hope all is well!
You may also want to look into getting a gas card. Look for ones where a bank has specifically teamed up with one gas station as they offer the best cash back structures. Also, make sure the gas station is one where you have several locations nearby.
I just filled up at the pump for 3.99 a gallon. Yikes! I am happy that Peapod is delivering tomorrow. It will save me a bit since I won’t have to make another trip to the grocery store.
This is a timely article as gas prices continue to sky rocket
oh well , fuel in Australia works out at US $5.67/gallon and the sky has not fallen in. When we were in the UK we were paying the equivalent of $8.59/gallon. The US has the cheapest fuel on the planet chill out.
Shell isn’t usually the cheapest gas but with the Kroger $.10 off Shell gas, it saved us some cash on or 900 mile trip to MI in a Suburban!!!! Kroger has some great Manager Deals and sales then to get 10 cents off gas was super awesome!
Thank you for posting about GasBuddy. I found a place not too far from me that is 10 cents cheaper than usual. I love how it lets you plan a trip around saving gas too.
Great tips and definitely very timely.
All good tips, thank you.
Short of buying a new fuel efficient car (drastic, as you say) simply driving less is the quickest to conserve, use less, and spend less on energy.
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but if you pay attention and no one is behind you, there’s no harm is simply coasting to a stop rather than giving it gas all the way there, then stopping. Also, cool the air within the car, then run the fan on low awhile without the AC. Little things like that, along with weekly checking the tire pressure, can add up to gas savings.
I always use the gas buddy app on my iPhone, it works wonders especially on long road trips.
Coming from Canada, I am jealous of your cheap cheap gas prices. But my family in Europe is jealous of Canadian cheap (to them) prices. vicious cycle!