25 Ways to Save Money on Gas

With gas prices nearing $4 a gallon, saving money on gas is more important than ever. Fortunately, there are a lot of relatively simple and inexpensive things you can do to save money on gas. What follows is a list of 25 ways to reduce what you pay at the pump:

Car Maintenance

  1. Replace a dirty air filter: According to the Federal Trade Commission, replacing a clogged air filter can increase gas mileage up to 10%.
  2. Keep your car’s engine tuned: Having your car’s engine tuned according to the owner’s manual can improve gas mileage by 4%.
  3. Get regular oil changes: Clean oil in your car’s engine improves gas mileage by reducing friction. You should also look for oil that says “Energy Conserving” on the performance symbol of the American Petroleum Institute, which contains friction-reducing additives that can improve fuel economy.
  4. Keep tires properly inflated: Properly inflated tires can increase your miles per gallon by up to 3%.
  5. Use the right motor oil: Make sure you use the proper grade of motor oil, which can save you 1-2% at the pump.
  6. Rotate tires and alignment: Rotating the tires for even wear will improve your car’s performance and gas mileage, as will keeping the car properly aligned.

Buying Gas

  1. Buy the recommended gas for you car: Most cars run on regular octane gas. According to the Federal Trade Commission, there is no reason to buy a higher grade gas from what is recommended in the owner’s manual. If you want to read more on this, check out the FTC’s Low-Down on High Octane Gas.
  2. Steer clear of gas-saving gadgets: You’ve probably read about any number of gadgets that promise to increase your car’s gas mileage. Most of these gadgets don’t deliver on their promises, and some can even harm your car. For more information on these gadgets, you can read the FTC’s “Gas-Saving” Products: Fact or Fuelishness.
  3. Find the cheapest gas near you: Check out GasNearU or Gas Buddy to find the least expensive gas in your neighborhood.
  4. Use Gas Rebate Credit Cards: There are some credit cards that can save you up to 5% on gas. Three of the best cards in my opinion are the Discover Open Road Card (5% cash rebate on gas and car maintenance purchases), Chase PerfectCard MasterCard (6% rebate on gas purchases first 90 days, 3% thereafter), Citi Diamond Preferred Rewards Card (earn 5 points for every dollar spent the first year at supermarkets, drug stores, and gas stations).

Driving Smarter

  1. Keep it under 60: At speeds above 60 mph, miles per gallon start to decrease significantly.
  2. Avoid “jackrabbit” starts: Peeling out when the light turns green so you can be the first car at the next red light is like throwing money out the window. Gentle driving can save you up to 5%.
  3. Unload: Remove unnecessary weight from your car (no, this doesn’t include your spouse). Lighten the load by 100 lbs. can improve your gas mileage by 2%.
  4. Avoid using the roof-rack: Items on top of your car, in addition to weighing you down, increases wind resistance that lowers your gas mileage.
  5. Use cruise control: Using cruise control on the highway when it’s safe to do so improves fuel economy.
  6. Use air conditioning on highway, not in the city: If it’s hot outside, using the air conditioner on the highway improves gas mileage over rolling down the windows because of the air resistance. But in stop and go traffic, it’s best to let mother nature cool you down.
  7. Remove snow tires: Deep tread and big tires consume more fuel. So when winter is over, remove the snow tires for better gas mileage.

Driving Less

  1. Telecommute: For many, it’s the commute to and from work that burns the most gas. Telecommuting even one day a week will reduce these costs 20%, will reduce wear and tear on your car, and save lots of time, too. And telecommuting is a great way to start what I like to call slow motion retirement.
  2. Work four 10s or nine 9s: If your boss isn’t too keen on telecommuting, maybe he or she will allow you to work four 10-hour days and take every Friday off, or nine 9-hour days and take every other Friday off.
  3. RideShare: Join a group of friends or neighbors to carpool to work. This can substantially cut down on gas consumption. And if you live in an area that uses High Occupancy Vehicles (HOV) lanes, it can also get you to work faster.
  4. Plan errands: We all have errands to run throughout the week and particularly on the weekends. Combine errands so you have to take fewer trips to get your chores done. In addition saving gas, you’ll also save time and aggravation.
  5. Walk or bike when possible: More and more people are riding their bike to mass transit or to work. Evening biking to work one or two days a week will save a substantial amount of gas.

Car and tire buying

  1. Buy fuel efficient cars: There are plenty of hybrid and other fuel efficient cars to choose from. In my Best of March 2008 article, you’ll find a link for some of the least expensive hybrids on the market. Another great site to check out is Fuel Economy, a government run website about hybrid vehicles. These cars are the ultimate in money management when it comes to fuel cost.
  2. Buy an electric or gas powered scooter: These scooters are commonplace in many parts of the world, and their popularity is growing in the U.S. A Vespa, for example, gets up to 72 miles per gallon and has a top speed of 59 mph.vespa.jpg
  3. Consider fuel efficient tires: Some tires are designed to increase fuel efficiency by decreasing the rolling resistance of the tire. Of course, there are other considerations when buying tires, including traction and handling, but the tires you put on your car can have a significant impact on your fuel economy. The Michelin Energy LX4 is an example of a fuel efficient tire.

If you have other tips on how to reduce gas consumption, please leave a comment.

Published or Updated: February 14, 2013
About Rob Berger

Rob founded the Dough Roller in 2007. A litigation attorney in the securities industry, he lives in Northern Virginia with his wife, their two teenagers, and the family mascot, a shih tzu named Sophie.

Comments

  1. jm says:

    on #13 unload: What do you think of the idea of only filling up a half tank to shave off some weight? A gallon of gas weighs about 6 pounds, according to google. If you only fill up your 12 gallon tank half way, that’s 36 lbs savings right there. That’s about the only weight I can take out of my car anyway unless I left the spare at home or removed the back seat.

    Of course, you will be going to the pump twice as much, but that also means you are spreading your gas purchases out over more paychecks.

    • DR says:

      jm, on a similar note, I’ve heard of not filling up until you are really on empty. I suppose you need to weight the added fuel economy against the inconvenience of filling up twice as much.

  2. Eric says:

    25) Under Driving Less heading: Using Public Transportation whenever possible.

    I’m lucky in that I have a bus route that has a stop 2 blocks from my house and 3 blocks from my office. And as a Fed, I can get fully reimbursed for the cost of a monthly bus pass. I’m sure other employers offer something similar.

    • DR says:

      Eric, good tip, which I’ll add. I’m only two miles from the subway, so while I drive to it each day, round trip is only 4 miles.

  3. stngy1 says:

    #24!!
    Instant return on your investment! The couples’ tax rebate could purchase a good one!
    DH uses a scooter and his coworkers are offering to buy it from him on a daily basis (for MORE than he paid)! A year ago they were snickering a bit, since his is pretty small. Gets over 100mpg. He wants a huskier model, but I kinda like the idea of his not being able to jump on the freeway!
    BTW, insurance was cheap, but mandatory (thru Geico). Since scooter was so cheap, we have high deductible and replacement and aren’t sweating/worrying about it getting swiped.
    Would be a great commuter vehicle to train, if too far to walk or bike.

  4. Mike says:

    Nice set of tips to really save on the gas tank! I really like #24 about buying a scooter to commute short distances. However, tip #8 I beg to differ. There are gas-saving devices out there that work! My fav is Water4Gas, because the hydrogen-powered system it teaches you to build for your car really works! Hydrogen is the new gasoline, for it has the same power potential as gas. Check out my blog to learn about it..{carburnswater.blogspot.com}

  5. Frugal Parent says:

    #18 – Telecommute…good point! With the high fuel costs I definitely think this will be a much bigger trend in the future. For a wide array of work from home employers, be sure to check my website!!!

  6. Jamie says:

    Here is the best way to save money on gas and increase your mpg’s. All of those things work great in addition to this catalyst that increases your mpg bottom line.

  7. Jay says:

    Some days are better for filling up than others also. The prices are usually higher on Thursdays when people are preparing for the weekend and lower on late Tuesday and early Wednesday morning.

  8. GasNearU says:

    Excellent tips!! With gas prices creeping over $4 per gallon, these tips will be extremely useful.

  9. SS says:

    Here’s one that a few people may be able to consider: find a similar job closer to home. I work in the medical field and was driving 30 – 40 minutes one way to and from work and was filling up every week. I found a similar job just 5 minutes from home. I now fill up about once every 2 weeks.

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  11. Moneybanyan says:

    Very nice tips for saving money on gas. These tips will surely help us save some money.

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