Trans World Assurance Blog

How to Go Further on a Tank of Gas (Money Book, Jeff Burch)

Posted on Fri, Apr 01, 2011


Feeling ripped off by the escalating price of gasoline these days. Utilize the great ideas below to help you save and go further on a tank of gas.

Check the Internet for cheapest gas prices. Find lowest gas prices in your local area by using:

Benefits of club memberships: See what club memberships, wholesale clubs, automobile clubs, and number of other organizations offer as gas discounts to members. Some grocery stores even provide money saving coupons for gasoline with their grocery receipts.

Pay with gas card: If you prefer to use credit at the pump, think about getting a gasoline credit card that offers a 5% or10% rebate back on every purchase.

Credit and debit cards: Some credit and debit cards provide reward points, coupons or other benefits for your purchase, so you can offset the price of gas with savings somewhere else.

Buy gas in the middle of the week: Weekends and holidays often see slightly higher fuel prices, so if you can fill up mid-week, you may save a few cents per gallon.

Buy gas in the morning: Get up to 5% more gas in the summer if you fill up your gas tank before sun gets hot and expands gas in the station’s fuel tanks.  

Fill your car with regular gas: Most cars do not need high-octane fuel to run efficiently. In truth, low-octane fuel is great for energy conservation, due to less crude oil per gallon. Using premium gas in a car intended to run on regular wastes gas, money, and causes car problems. However, using regular gas in a car intended to run on premium can quickly destroy an engine.    

Keep tires inflated: The Department of Energy estimates that properly inflated tires can save the average car owner 3.3% with each tank of gas. Under-inflated tires can lower gas mileage by 0.4% for every 1 psi drop in pressure of all four tires. Bias-ply tires are not as fuel-efficient as radial tires. Properly inflated tires are safer and last longer. 

Use correct oil: You can improve your gas mileage by 1%-2% by using the manufacturer’s approved grade of motor oil. Look for motor oil that says “Energy Conserving” on the API performance symbol, to be sure it contains friction-reducing additives.

Get tune-ups: Two worn-out spark plugs can cost you 20% or more of your fuel economy. If your car has a faulty oxygen sensor it can cause you to lose up to 40% of fuel efficiency. Tune-ups will improve performance as well as gas mileage (estimated annual savings is $53).

Change dirty air filter: When changing dirty air filter, you can improve car's gas mileage by as much as 10% and protect the engine too.

Change your filthy fuel filter: Clean fuel is crucial for long engine life. Change your fuel filter every 10,000 miles or check owner’s manual for schedule. 

Warm your car up: A cold engine will use about 20% more gas than a warm one, so warm up your car briefly and at first drive slowly.

Avoid excessive idling: An Idling engine gets 0 miles per gallon and devours up to 1/2 gallon of gas per hour, You’re better off turning car off. In addition, it takes less gas to turn car back on again than it does to leave it on. 

Drive within speed limit: Gas mileage decreases rapidly at speeds above 60 mph. You can save an average of 7% to 23% by driving within speed limit. When driving, you'll pay $0.10 for every 5 mph over 60 mph.

Take your time getting there: Rapid acceleration, speeding and braking wastes gas. It can lower your gas mileage by 33% on highway and by 5% driving in town.  

Should I or shouldn’t I use air conditioning? City driving uses up to 3 miles per gallon when using AC, but if you drive at a constant speed while driving on a highway, AC use doesn’t matter.

Lighten your load: Don’t carry needless gear and luggage in a vehicle. Gasoline mileage decreases 1%-2% for every extra 100 lbs of weight. When going on a trip, fill up trunk and spare passenger areas before adding luggage racks or trailers. These add drag, greatly reducing fuel cost-effectiveness. 

If car has fuel injection, keep the gas tank at least ¼ full. This supplies enough fuel for the electric pump, which depends on a steady supply of fuel to lubricate its inner parts. Running your car low on fuel causes the pump to wear out, especially when cornering.

Over-filling the gas tank causes charcoal evaporation emissions canister to saturate. This part can cost $100 to replace. Stop fueling at first click of pump nozzle.

To stop fuel lines from freezing, add isopropyl alcohol (commercial additive) to the gas tank when filling up before and during especially cold weather.

The gas tank must be kept full when storing a vehicle.  This limits amount of water forming (condensation) in the gas tank. Add a gas preservative if car will be stored for more than a month.

Alliance to Save Energy Helps Consumers Get Better Mileage: With gasoline prices nearing or hitting record levels in many states and regions of the country, the Alliance to Save Energy offers consumers tips to cut gasoline use and protect their pocketbooks. www.ase.org/content/news/detail/862

Fuel Economy for Cars: Fuel economy information for 2009 cars, trucks, SUVs and vans is now available to assist consumers in making good environmental choices when buying new vehicles. www.fueleconomy.gov/feg/FEG2000.htm

Gas Mileage Impact Calculator: This calculator offers information correlating to gas consumption, fuel cost and emission of major pollutants. www.hybridcars.com/calculator

Tags: Trans World Assurance, Money Book, Jeff Burch, money saving tips, better gas mileage