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High Gas Prices Getting You Down? 11 Tips for Fuel Efficiency.

Brian England, Mon, Sep 17, 2012

gas pumpCan you remember when gas used to cost less than $1 per gallon?

Well according to gaspricewatch.com, we haven’t seen gas prices that low since 1994. If you’re under 18 years old, it hasn’t even happened in your lifetime!

So what can you do to lower your monthly gasoline expenses?

  1. Move to a state with a lower gas price. – Just kidding, but it is interesting to see exactly where the states fall when it comes to gasoline prices.  Today, to get the lowest prices you would have to move South to Mississippi, South Carolina, Texas or Alabama.  These four states offer gas at less than $3.65 per gallon on average for regular.  In fact, there’s a spread of $.81 cents between the highest gas price, Hawaii at $4.405, and the lowest, Mississippi at $3.592. Maryland falls in the mid-range but toward the lower end at #33 with an average cost of $3.79 per gallon for regular gasoline.  That saves us quite a bit over some of the higher priced states:  Hawaii, Illionis, California, Connecticut, and New York.  These four have average gas prices at or over $4.10.
    One thing you can do to save money is avoid buying your gas in D.C., they rank seventh highest at $4.015, or check out the GasPrice Watch.com map to find the stations with lowest prices in your area.
  2. Purchase a more fuel efficient car. – You can always tackle the price issue by getting a more fuel efficient car.  For 2013, at least one or two of the models from Ford, Toyota, Mercedes-Benz, Chevrolet, Lexus, Fiat, Kia, VW, Audi, Hundai and Scion offer DOE ratings of 34 MPG or better, so there are a lot of fuel efficient cars to choose from.
  3. Make sure your tires are properly inflated. – Under inflated tires can significantly lower your gas mileage. When that tire pressure sensor light comes on, don’t ignore it!  Take the time to get your tires properly inflated.
  4. Clean out the trunk and back seat. – Do you have a friend that travels around with their entire filing system, sporting equipment and closet in the backseat and trunk.  Well, you would be surprised at how much extra weight can increase gas mileage. Do them a favor, and let them know that they can clean out that car and actually save some money.
  5. Slow down. – Today’s cars are designed to get their best gas efficiency at 55 mph.  Increasing your average speed to 70mph can decrease your miles per gallon by five percent, so slow down!
  6. Get your preventative maintenance done on schedule. – Cars that aren’t properly serviced can burn more gas.  For example if your oxygen sensor isn’t performing properly and your air/fuel ratio is off, you can lose up to 1 to 2 mpg in fuel efficiency.
  7. Avoid quick accelerations, – Yes, that car might go from zero to 60 miles per hour in 3 seconds, but does it need to.  Quick accelerations can reduce your mileage by up to 10%, so ease up!
  8. Pay attention to how you are using the air conditioner (AC). When you are driving slow, the use of the air conditioner in your car can burn more gas. But when you’re on the highway, closing the windows and turning on the air conditioner can actually improve your mileage because you are reducing the drag on the car.  A good rule of thumb is to always roll up the windows and use the AC when you are on the highway, and when conditions allow, roll them down in stop and go traffic and turn off that AC.
  9. Avoid stop & go traffic.  Most people are aware of the big differences in mileage ratings for city and highway.  That’s because the frequent stops and starts of city driving uses more gas.  If you can avoid driving in rush hour, avoid it.  Also, try to maintain a safe stopping distance and use your brakes less on the highway.  It will help you save gas.
  10. Drive less. Combine trips when you can.  Consider taking alternate transportation.  When was the last time you carpooled or took the bus or a train?  And don’t forget about biking or walking, you’ll get a nice exercise bonus that might save you on health cost as well as gas.
  11. And, last but not least — Don’t time travel back to 2008.  Gas hit it’s highest price ever at an average of $4.11 across the nation.  We’re close, but we haven’t topped the record 2008 gas prices.  So when someone offers to take you for a ride in their time machine.  Be sure to skip 2008!
The source for average gas prices is gaspricewatch.com data for 9/17/12 .
Photo courtesy of taylor a.

 

About Brian England

 

Brian England, the current president of BA Auto Care (formerly British American Auto Care) got his start with an auto apprenticeship in a small town in the northwest of London. He came to the U.S. in 1972 to work for a Land Rover dealer in Rockville, MD, and a few years later, started British American Auto Care with his wife, Jennifer. A big believer in preventive auto maintenance, Brian's philosophy is to encourage and educate drivers on the benefits of adhering to a regular maintenance plan.