Trans World Assurance Blog

Go Further On A Tank Of Gas! (Updated) - Part 3 by Jeff Burch

Posted on Wed, Jan 25, 2012

PART 2 - Tips 5 thru 7

8. Maintenance and tune-ups: Regular maintenance as prescribed by the vehicle owner's manual will help your vehicle achieve its best fuel economy and improve mileage by up to 4%. Some overlooked Maintenance tips:

  • Use the correct oil: You can stretch your gas mileage by 1%-2% by using the thinnest viscosity grade of motor oil recommended by the car manufacturer. Example: Dumping 10W-30 motor oil in an engine that is designed to use 5W-30 can lessen your gas mileage by 1%-2%. In addition, use "Energy Conserving” motor oil containing friction-reducing additives.
  • Keep tires inflated and aligned: It's estimated 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 0.3% for every 1 PSI drop in pressure of all four tires and wear out faster. When replacing your tires, replace them with the same make and model as the tires that were on your vehicle when it was new. In addition, poor alignment can cause tires to wear out quickly and force your engine to work harder. Align your tires, and save up to 10% or 20 cents per gallon.
  • Check spark plugs: Two worn-out spark plugs can cost 20% or more of your fuel economy
  • Check the oxygen filter: If your car has a faulty oxygen sensor it can cause you to lose up to 40% of fuel efficiency.
  • Check Air filter: Tests show replacing a clogged air filter on cars with fuel-injected, computer-controlled gasoline engines (cars made from early 1980s and upward) does not improve fuel economy, but it can improve acceleration time by around 6% to 11%. However, tests suggest that replacing a clogged air filter on older model cars with carbureted engines may improve fuel economy 2% to 6% under normal replacement conditions.
  • Change fuel filter: Clean fuel is essential for a long engine life. So replace your fuel filter once a year or no more than 30,000 miles. If the filter plugs up it can starve an engine of fuel and if it fails it can release debris into injectors, causing expensive repairs. Also, a restricted filter will stress the electric fuel pump, leading to early failure.
  • Check brakes: Gas mileage can be affected by brake drag. Brake drag occurs when the lining is in constant contact with the rotor or drum and gas mileage suffers (metal to metal). Repair ASAP, not to get the best gas mileage, but for your own safety.

9. Fill it up and other gas filling tips:

  • Don't top off: 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.
  • Fill up your gas tank in the morning on weekdays:

A. Gas stations tend to change their prices between 10 a.m. and noon, so head to the pump early in the morning if gas prices are on the rise. However, if prices are falling, go later in the day.

B. In addition, weekends and holidays often see slightly higher fuel prices, so if you can fill up mid-week, you may save more.

C. Since gas expands when heated and contracts when cooled fill up your tank before heat expands it (especially during the summer). Currently, there are several theories as to why filling up in the morning does or doesn't work. As for my own experience, when I fill up in the morning I get 25 extra (freeway) miles or more out of my tank. Will it work for you?  To find out, keep track of your mileage with a gas log book.

 Example: 

June 13 / Time filled: 7 am / 18 gal. / Miles: 368
June 23 / Time filled: 5 pm / 18 gal. / Miles: 326

  • Tighten the gas cap: To tighten, twist gas cap until it clicks three times. However, if you constantly smell gas in the vicinity  of the gas tank, you may need a new gas cap. If the cap is loose or defective, gas vapor will constantly leak out and you'll waste gas. Also, if the cap is faulty it can cause your oxygen sensor to read incorrectly and tell the engine management computer to adjust the fuel-air mix and you'll end up burning more gas than needed.
  • Fuel injected cars: Keep the gas tank at least full enough to supply 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.
  • Stop fuel lines from freezing: Keep the gas tank 1/4 full and add isopropyl alcohol (commercial additive) to the gas tank when filling up before and during especially cold weather.
  • Car storage: Keep the gas tank full to limit the amount of water condensation in the gas tank when storing a vehicle. If car will be stored for more than a month, add a gas preservative.

10. Save gas while driving:

  • Avoid idling: A cold engine on today's modern cars should be warmed up by idling no more than 30-35 seconds. An idling engine eats up to 1/2 gallon of gas per hour and gets 0 mpg.
  • Drive 55 mph: All vehicles gas mileage decreases rapidly at speeds above 55 mph. Driving 65 instead of 75 mph reduces fuel cost 13%. Driving 55 would save 25%.
  • Drive efficiently and take your time getting there: Save up to 20% by driving the speed limit. Avoid aggressive driving, rapid acceleration, speeding and braking that can lower gas mileage by 33% on highway and by 5% driving in town. Other tips:

A. Listen to radio reports to use alternative routes to bypass traffic congestion
B. Drive in the highest gear possible without lugging the engine
C. Try to keep your speed constant. Use cruise control when on long stretches of road

  • When is the best time to use your AC? City driving uses up to 3 miles per gallon when using AC, but if you drive at a constant speed on a highway, AC use doesn’t matter.
  • Lighten your load: Don’t carry needless gear and luggage in your car. Gasoline mpg decreases 1%-2% for every extra 100 lbs of weight or conversely, save 3 cents per 100 lbs removed.
  • Don't be a drag! Keep car aerodynamic: Remove accessories, spoilers, etc., or repair body damage, crunched front fender, etc., that can alter a car's aerodynamics and reduce gas mileage by up to 8% (ask any race driver). In addition, refrain from driving with an open sunroof or windows at high speeds. Also, using a loaded roof rack creates wind resistance and can increase fuel consumption by up to 5% (better to pack items inside the car).

11. Other gas saving tips and ideas:

  • Use other forms of transportation: If you share a ride to work with a friend or co-worker(s), you will cost-effectively double your fuel economy. Check with your city or state to see if it has a "Rideshare" program. Other transportation options: Instead of driving use bus transits, bicycle, walk or catch a ride from friends, etc., to get to your destination of choice.
  • Fuel Economy for Cars: Fuel economy information for 2010 and 2011 cars, trucks, SUVs and vans is available to assist consumers in purchasing fuel efficient new vehicles. When purchasing, consider the most fuel efficient vehicle and save up to 50%. For more information, visit: 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. For more information, visit: www.hybridcars.com/calculator
  • Gasoline-Saving Devices: The U.S. EPA and FTC have both stated that there are no devices, currently on the market, that helps boost gas mileage any appreciable amount. Buyer beware!


Sources: Department of Energy, California Consumer Energy Center, Consumer Federation of America, Nerd Wallet, ALLDATA, EPA and Oakridge National Laboratory

Be sure to check out other articles from Jeff Burch on the Trans World Assurance Blog.

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

Go Further On A Tank Of Gas! (Updated) - Part 2 by Jeff Burch

Posted on Tue, Jan 24, 2012


PART 1 - Tips 1 thru 4

5. Shop with grocers that use Fuelperks: Through Fuelperks you can earn 5¢ off per gallon of gas and up to 20 gallons for every $50 of food or goods you'd normally purchase through retailers. There's no cap on savings and you can earn a free tank of gas (3 month expiration date if not used). Furthermore, most retailers run extra promotions on select items that earn more fuelperks.

How it works:

A. Fill out an application and receive a loyalty card from one of these grocers in your area: Winn Dixie (FL, AL, LA, GA, MS), BI-LO (NC, SC, GA, TN), Martin's or Giant (MD, PA, VA, WV), Giant Eagle (OH, WV, MD, PA), Roundy's (WI, MN) or Rainbow Foods (MN)

B. Once you have your loyalty card, then go to www.fuelperks.com and register your loyalty card online.

C. Start shopping to save gasoline

  • Gas saving tip 1: From the comfort of your home, earn points by purchasing goods through their website.
  • Gas saving tip 2: Purchase gas gift cards from retailer(s), and at the same time earn points.
  • For more information, visit: www.fuelperks.com

Jeff Burch Save Gas

6. Save gas through your grocer:

A. KROGER: Gas discounts can be found through Kroger, the largest grocery chain in the country. States excluded from the program: AL, CA, LA, MO, OR, WA. The basics:

  • Earn 1 point for every dollar you spend on groceries (before coupons).
  • Earn 50 points for each prescription filled (excludes all government funded programs).
  • Receive 100 points for every $50 spent in gift cards (doesn’t include Kroger store gift cards).
  • For every 100 points redeemed at the pump, 10 cents per gallon is rewarded up to $1.00 per gal up to 35 gal per purchase.
  • Fuel points must be used during the month (“all or nothing”). Customers cannot use partial points for separate fill-ups:

Example:
100 points =      10 cent discount
200 points =      20 cent discount
500 points =      50 cent discount
1,000 points =   $1.00 discount  

  • Customers who use a Kroger 1-2-3 MasterCard can receive an additional 5¢ gas discount.
  • If your local Kroger store has teamed up with Shell or other outside gas stations, then buy $50 gas gift cards at Kroger, so you earn rewards points and save even more on gas!
  • Kroger pharmacies will match any local pharmacy's price for prescriptions, which means you get the best possible price on pharmaceuticals and earn points to save gas.
  • For more information, visit: www.kroger.com/in_store/fuel/Pages/default.aspx

B. FOOD CITY: Receive gas discounts from Food City (KY, TN, VA) through their Fuel Bucks program. The basics:

  • No limit on number of points you can redeem.
  • Earn 1 point for each $1.00 purchased in grocery items.
  • Receive 10 bonus points for every $10 of Food City brands purchased.
  • Earn 50 bonus points with qualifying prescriptions.
  • 150 points earns you 15¢ off per gallon on a single fill-up (Up to a maximum of 20 gallons per fill-up).
  • Points earned in one month, will expire at the end of the following month.

Example:
Points earned in Dec 2011 will expire Jan 31, 2012.

  • Earn 50 additional points for qualifying Pharmacy prescriptions. Applies to all new, transferred, or refilled prescriptions. Excludes federally funded prescriptions and $4 generic prescription plan.
  • For more information, visit: www.foodcity.com/save/fuel-bucks

C. WALMART: Get a Walmart gift card and use it at participating gas stations and you'll save 10 cents per gallon, with no other restrictions or requirements. For more information, visit: www.walmart.com/cp/Gift-Cards/96894 (see "Important Deals and Limitations" near bottom of the page).

D. PUBLIX: Keep an eye out for gas saving promotions through Publix (AL, FL, SC, TN). This promotion was recently released:

"$10 Off the Purchase of One $50 Gas Card.  With a grocery purchase of $25 or more. Coupon required for each deal. Only one deal and coupon accepted for every $25 grocery purchase."

WOW! This means you get $10 in free gas, and even if the gas cards sell out, you can get a rain check and receive the offer when they replenish their stock. Furthermore, the rain checks don't expire. Publix run these type of promotions every couple of months, so stock up when you see them.

  • If you live in area that has both Publix and a Fuelperks provider, buy gift cards to use at those stations. Save on the gift card and then save further on gas with your fuelperks!

  • Final grocer gas saving tip: Since you can purchase gas up to 20-35 gallons through these gas saving programs, and the average gas tank only holds 16 gallons, then bring your other car or gas cans to the pump, so you won't waste the discount.

NOTE: If the grocers mentioned are not within a reasonable distance or in your state, then check around with your local grocer(s) for gas saving promotions or special discounts.

Example: Safeway: www.safeway.com/ifl/grocery/club-card

For more information, visit: www.publix.com

7. Club memberships and gas cards:

  • Club memberships: Take the time to research club memberships, wholesale clubs, automobile clubs, and other organizations that offer gas discounts to members. Below, are just a few clubs to assist you in your research.

A. Costco ($50 to $100 membership): www.costco.com
B. Sam's Club ($40 to $100 membership): www.samsclub.com
C. AAA Club ($59-$159 membership): www.aaa.com
D. BJ's Wholesale ($50-$90 membership): www.bjs.com

  • Pay with gas card: Think about getting a gasoline credit card that offers 5% to 10% rebate on every gas purchase.

 

Go Further On A Tank Of Gas! (Updated) by Jeff Burch will continue tomorrow on the Trans World Assurance Blog with PART 3 - Tips 8 thru 11 .

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

Go Further On A Tank Of Gas! (Updated) - Part 1 by Jeff Burch

Posted on Mon, Jan 23, 2012

Worried and feeling helpless because your budget's been blown out of proportion due to the skyrocketing prices of gasoline? Solution: Get into the habit of using the following gas saving tips and ideas that will help you go further on a tank of gas.
                         
1. Be smart and wise when purchasing gasoline: Regular grade fuel costs about 20-40 cents per gallon less than premium grade. However, using regular gas in a car intended to run on premium can quickly destroy an engine. Conversely, using premium gas in a car intended to run on regular wastes gas, money and causes car problems. Check your vehicle owner's manual to find out what type of gas is right for your car.

2. Check the Internet for cheapest gas prices: Find the lowest gas prices in your area by using the sites below:
www.motortrend.com/gas_prices
www.gasbuddy.com
www.gaspricewatch.com
www.fueleconomy.gov/feg/gasprices/states/index.shtml

3. Nationwide gas discount and rebate gas station finder:
To find the nearest gas station that gives gas discounts for paying in cash or rebates/rewards by utilizing certain credit cards, visit: www.nerdwallet.com/gas-prices

4. Credit and debit cards: Some credit and debit cards provide reward points, coupons or other benefits for purchasing gas. For a list of credit cards that offer gas discounts, rebates, etc., visit:
www.fatwallet.com/forums/finance/711457
www.indexcreditcards.com/gascreditcards.html
www.rewardscards.com/gas-rebate-cards-ranked.asp

 

(Updated) Go Further On A Tank Of Gas! by Jeff Burch will continue tomorrow on the Trans World Assurance Blog with PART 2 - Tips 5 thru 7 .

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

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