Ways to Save on Gasoline

Home | Diesel Engines | Basic Maintenance + Repair

80. Ask yourself every time you plan to use your car, truck, or van, “Is this trip really necessary?” Every mile you drive your vehicle will cost you an average of 31.5 cents. (See the “Introduction” at the beginning of this section.) If the trip is not necessary, think twice before using your vehicle.

81. Drive at a conservative speed on the highway. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, most automobiles get about 20 percent more miles per gallon on the highway at 55 miles per hour than they do at 70 miles per hour.

82. Consider purchasing an automobile which gets the best gas mileage. For example, generally, the following get better gas mileage: lighter weight vehicles, vehicles with smaller engines, vehicles with manual transmissions, those with four cylinders, and those with fewer accessories. Check the “fuel economy” labels attached to the windows of new automobiles to find the average estimated miles per gallon for given makes and models. Also see the section, “Sources for Additional Information,” at the end of this section for references on gas mileage.

83. Decrease the number of short trips you make. Short trips drastically reduce gas mileage. If an automobile gets 20 miles per gallon in general, it may get only 4 miles per gallon on a short trip of 5 miles or less. The U. S. Department of Energy says that trips of 5 miles or less make up 15 percent of all miles driven each year, but these trips burn 30 percent of the gasoline.

84. Cut down on the number of shopping trips. Try to plan your shopping so that you can run all of your errands in fewer trips. Combine trips. Driving to run errands many times a week can become very expensive.

85. Run necessary errands on your way to and from work. You can also run errands during your lunch break by walking to nearby stores, the library, and other places.

86. Make a list of all errands in order of their location before you leave home. Move from one to the other without backtracking. Backtracking requires additional gasoline.

87. Run errands when the traffic is least congested. You will minimize stopping-and-going and, thus, save on gasoline.

88. Don’t drive all the way across town to save five cents on an item. As pointed out in the “Introduction” to this section, it costs 31 .5 cents a mile to own and operate an automobile. If you drive 10 miles, it will cost you $3.15.

89. When shopping several grocery stores, consider how far they are from each other and whether you could still save money over the cost of automobile ownership and operation if you drove to all of them to purchase, for example, advertised specials.

90. Minimize stopping-and-starting. It wastes gasoline.

91. Try to drive at a steady pace. Try to avoid unnecessary and repetitious speeding up and slowing down. Jerky driving uses more gasoline.

92. Try to avoid, as much as possible, stop-and-go traffic. It increases fuel consumption.

93. Accelerate smoothly and moderately. Accelerating very rapidly uses more gasoline. Jumpy starts and fast getaways can burn over 50 percent more gasoline than normal acceleration. Once you have reached your desired speed, keep a steady pressure on the accelerator, just enough to maintain the speed.

94. Warm-ups should not exceed one minute. The gasoline consumed in long warm-ups is not offset by any great improvement in engine performance.

95. Turn off your engine if you stop for more than one minute. Restarting the automobile will use less gasoline than idling for more than one minute. Don’t wait until you unbuckle your seat belt, turn off the lights, turn off the air- conditioner, gather items from the seat to take with you, etc. before you turn off the engine. When you turn off the ignition, your gasoline costs stop.

96. Run your automobile air-conditioner only when really necessary. Alternatively, use the economy vent. Running the air-conditioner results in more fuel consumption and fewer miles per gallon of gasoline.

97. If your automobile is equipped with a cruise control, use it when possible. It helps you get better gas mileage. Most automobile manufacturers recommend, however, that the cruise control not be used in heavy traffic for safety reasons.

98. Change the air filter when needed. A clogged filter wastes gasoline.

99. Change the fuel filter at regular intervals. A dirty filter reduces fuel economy.

100. Have your automobile tuned-up as recommended in your owner s manual or as needed. A poorly tuned engine could consume three to nine percent more gasoline than a well-tuned one. The tune-up will pay for itself in gasoline savings and performance.

101. Check your tire pressure regularly. Keep your tires inflated at the recommended pressure. Tire pressure that is too low will increase rolling resistance and reduce gas mileage. You can lose about two percent in fuel economy for every pound of air pressure under the recommended pounds per square inch.

102. Consider radial tires. The use of radial tires can mean from three to five percent improvement in gas mileage in the city, seven percent on the highway, and 10 percent at 55 miles per hour after the tires have warmed up for 20 minutes. Radials also last longer. (Remember: Never mix radials with conventional tires on the same axle.)

103. Keep the front wheels of your vehicle in proper alignment. If the wheels are out of alignment, the vehicle will use more fuel.

104. Remove unnecessary weight from your automobile. Generally, the lighter the vehicle, the less gasoline it will use. An extra 100 pounds decreases fuel economy about 1 percent for the average car, and 1.25 percent for a small car).

105. Vacation near home this year. Most of us fail to see and enjoy the attractions in our own city or state. Instead, we tend to drive long distances for a vacation. People hundreds or thousands of miles away from us drive to see our attractions, and we drive to see their attractions even though we haven’t seen our own nor have they seen their own. Discover some exciting things close to home this year and save hundreds of dollars in transportation costs.

106 Shopping by mail can save gasoline. However, make sure you aren’t spending more on the items you order than you would pay for them in a local store plus the cost of operating your car at 31.5 cents per mile.

107. Instead of driving around, telephone around to compare prices, to find out about the availability of an item, or to get other particular information. Telephoning will save on your transportation costs (and help reduce impulse buying.)

108. Order needed items over the telephone and have the items delivered to you if the overall delivered cost of the items is less than the price of the items on the shelf in the store plus the cost of driving your automobile to the store and back. Some drug stores, small neighborhood grocery stores, cleaners, department stores, and other types of stores and businesses provide “free” delivery service.

109. Shop around for the best price on gasoline. There could be as much as 30 cents or more per gallon difference in price at different places that sell gasoline.

110. Some service stations advertise “Save 4 cents per gallon when you pay cash.” For example, by paying cash rather than using your credit card, you could save 60 cents on a 15-gallon purchase. Such savings could accumulate to a relatively large amount over time. If a service station does not advertise savings for paying cash, you may wish to ask the manager or owner if he or she would be willing to offer such a saving to you if you pay cash rather than use your credit card.

111. Pump your own gasoline. Save as much as 10 cents to 30 cents per gallon.

112. Don’t overfill your gas tank. The gasoline draining down the side of your automobile is lost and may also damage the finish on your car.

113. Figure your gas mileage each time you purchase gasoline. If the miles per gallon begin to drop, you can check for possible causes and make the necessary adjustments or repairs.


114. Park in a public parking garage or lot some distance from the main downtown area, and your parking charges should be less. Normally, the farther away from downtown, the cheaper the parking fee. A distance of 8 to 10 blocks might just provide the daily exercise you need.

115. If there are houses with garages, driveways, front yards, or accessible back yards within the vicinity of your job, ask the residents if they would be willing to rent a parking space to you. If you can negotiate a price lower than the cost of parking in a public parking lot or garage, then consider renting a space.

116. When you drive downtown to shop, find out which stores have their own free or reduced-price parking lots or garages or provide free or reduced-price parking in agreement with a nearby garage or lot. Take advantage of this type of parking when appropriate, and save money.

117. If free, unassigned parking is provided for employees where you work, be sure you arrive early enough to get a parking space.

118. Check on monthly parking rates as opposed to daily rates. If you need parking space every day, you may find that monthly rates are to your advantage.

119. If free street parking is available in the vicinity where you work, then arrive early enough each day to take advantage of the free parking.


120. Car pool. Drive your automobile only part of the time to and from work and to various other activities. For example, if you could car pool with just one other person, you could save 50 percent on the cost of gasoline for getting to and from work. Car pool with three others and save 75 percent. Try to locate others interested in car pooling by:

a. Placing an advertisement in the newspaper. The ad could read:

“Would like to car pool Monday through Friday from Avalon to Greenwood and back. Call

b. contacting nearby friends, relatives, and others who drive daily to the vicinity where you work and ask if they would like to car pool.

c. putting a note on the bulletin board at work saying that you would like to car pool from Avalon to Greenwood and back Monday through Friday. Put your name, department, and telephone number on the note.

d. checking the telephone directory under “Car pool” to see if there might be a listing which you could contact. That office may have a list of people from your area who would like to car pool.

121. Some employee associations and employers buy vans or small busses for use in transporting employees to and from work at a reasonable daily, weekly, or monthly fee. Usually, one of the employees drives the vehicle. Riding in the van should be less expensive than driving your Own automobile. Check it out.

122. Ride to work with someone and pay him or her so much per day or week. If you know of no one going by or near where you work, place an advertisement in the newspaper stating something like this: “Need a ride daily to work, from West Collier Street to the Gibson Building in downtown Witberg and return. Will pay. Call.” Paying someone else for a ride should be cheaper than driving your own automobile.

123. Consider riding a bicycle. Use a bicycle path, if possible (if it is safe). If you have to ride on the street, be extra careful. Some people in cars often have little sympathy for bicyclists. When you reach your destination, lock your bicycle with a strong chain to a stationary structure. Consider moving close enough to your job to ride a bicycle to work. It can be a very cheap means of transportation and will require little upkeep.

124. Think about a motorcycle. Although this is a relatively cheap alternative to driving your car, it can also be very dangerous. Be extra careful.

125. Consider a moped. Mopeds get outstanding gas mileage, but they can be dangerous.

126. Limit your use of the taxi since this method of getting around can be very expensive. However, it is an alternative to owning and driving your own automobile; and, for some, it may be the best alternative.

127. Rent an automobile.

128. Lease an automobile. Since a wide variety of different leasing arrangements is available, check with several different companies on the actual overall cost to you for leasing to determine whether it would be cheaper for you to lease or to buy an automobile.

129. Use public mass transportation, such as the bus, subway, and train, to get to and from work, to do shopping, to get from the airport to downtown, to run errands, etc. Public transportation should be much cheaper than the overall cost of owning and operating your own automobile.

130. Take advantage of senior citizens, disabled persons’, students’, and children’s discount fares on public transportation.

131. Send your children to school by public mass transportation (if safe and cheaper to do so) rather than drive them to school. Using public transportation should be less expensive than driving your own automobile.

Have your children ride the school bus if one is available where you live--there should be no cost.

132. Arrange with other parents to share the responsibility of taking children to and from school and other activities. Sharing will decrease your transportation costs.

133. Walk to work (if close enough) and to nearby shops, grocery stores, and other places instead of driving. Consider moving close enough to your job to walk to work. Walking is free (and it is also healthy).

134. If you have time, take a bus or train instead of a plane for long-distance travel, if the bus or train would be cheaper than the plane, which is usually the case.

135. Mail payments for bills and send letters when possible. This will be much cheaper than driving your car to pay a bill or deliver a message.

136. Call and have grocery orders and medical prescriptions delivered to you, have dry cleaning and laundry picked up and delivered, and take advantage of various other delivery services, if there is no charge for delivery or if the cost of delivery is less than it would cost you to use your own automobile.

137. Use your telephone to comparison shop, visit with friends, and give and obtain information. Telephoning should be cheaper than driving your automobile.

Next:      Home     top of page