This year petrol prices are way up. Driving around town to run errands, shop, and visit friends can really eat away at your budget. So any way to cut back on fuel means more money in your pocket. Of course, keeping your petrol costs down takes a bit of planning – along with a little car maintenance and some new habits. But if you’d like to spend less at the pump this season, here are some tips to get you started:
1. Know your limit. Stay within the speed limit. You’ll get more miles per gallon at 55 mph than faster speeds. You know, like your grandpa drives.
2. Take a brake. Avoid making quick stops and starts – they waste fuel, cost you money, and pollute the air. When possible, slow down by taking your foot off the gas. (Hint: It’s a lot easier if you don’t tailgate!)
3. Find the no-idle zone. When possible, avoid idling. Take the first parking space at the mall instead of hunting for the closest. A little walking never hurts.
4. Avoid junk in the trunk. Don’t use the trunk of your car for storage. Take out unnecessary items and lighten your load. An extra 100 pounds in your trunk can decrease fuel economy by 2 percent.
5. Take two. Allow two minutes to let an older engine warm up in the morning. Cold cars eat more gas than warm cars.
6. Fill up with the right fuel. Use the correct octane rating for your car. Pull out your owner’s manual. It will tell you the most effective grade for your vehicle. If your owner’s manual says to use 87 octane, use it. There is no extra benefit to using a 93 octane, and it would cost about 10 bucks more. Make sure your gas cap isn’t loose or in need of replacement. Petrol does evaporate.
7. Stay tuned. Keep your car tuned up for best performance. Regular oil and filter changes, proper alignment, and proper tire pressure all help get the best petrol mileage.
8. Don’t pack the rack. It might be fine for Santa to pile presents on top of his sleigh, but it’s not a good idea for cars. A loaded roof rack creates wind resistance and can decrease fuel efficiency by 5 percent.
9. Consolidate your trips. Mapping your route in advance and consolidating trips will save fuel (and aggravation). Plus you’ll avoid those last-minute frenzies when you don’t have time to make careful shopping choices. Also try to shop during off-peak hours. You won’t have to start, stop, and idle in so much traffic.
10. Share the pain. If you’re on a bargain-shopping trek, take a friend with you. It’s a great way to spend time together, and you can split on the petrol!
11. Pretend you don’t have a car. Try not using your car one or two days a week. Walk, use mass transit, or ride share. Walk to your local post office, dry cleaners, or drug store instead of driving. You could easily save a couple hundred bucks a year. Plus the fresh air will do you good!