9 Ways to Reduce Pain at the Pump

9 Ways to Reduce Pain at the Pump
  • Opening Intro -

    Gas prices are at levels last seen in 2008. And we all know how that turned out: consumers cut back on their driving, the market plunged and we entered into the deepest recession since the Great Depression.


Nobody knows for certain if gas prices will continue to advance, perhaps eventually topping an unheard of $5 per gallon. The consequences of higher fuel prices will be devastating, but there are some things you can do to reduce your pain at the pump.

1. Use regular gasoline — Most cars can run on regular gasoline, saving drivers upwards of 20 cents per gallon. Only cars where premium fuel is required should not use regular gasoline, a move that might damage the engine and void your warranty.

2. Clean or replace your air filter — A dirty air filter can make your engine run rough. An inefficient engine consumes gas. If you have a paper air filter, then replace it. If you have a cotton air filter, then clean it out per the manufacturer’s instructions. Help your engine breathe freely!

3. Use the correct motor oil — Change your motor oil as recommended by the manufacturer is a given. But, using the wrong weight of oil can lower your fuel economy by as much as 2 percent states the EPA.

4. Keep your tires property inflated — Under-inflated tires can impact fuel economy, reducing it by up to 3.3 percent if all four tires are off by 10 PSI. This is a safety issue too — you increase the chance of experiencing a blow out if your tires do not have enough air.

5. Use cruise control — Most cars come equipped with cruise control, an effective device to help improve highway fuel economy. Fluctuating speed impacts your fuel economy — activating cruise control while at highway speeds can increase fuel efficiency by up to 14 percent reports CNN Money.

6. Drive with care — Jackrabbit starts, quick braking, not driving in the lowest gear while on the highway and a lead foot can all serve to knock down your fuel mileage. Around town, your mileage may drop by just 5 percent, but on the highway your mileage can fall by one-third asserts the EPA.

7. Remove excess weight — Carrying extra stuff in your trunk may be convenient, e.g. lawn chairs, sporting equipment, road salt and more, but for every 100 pounds of added weight your fuel efficiency drops by up to 2 percent. Lighten up your load!

8. Idle less often — Warming up your car for 10 minutes every morning may give you a toasty cabin, but your car is consuming gas the entire time. Most cars need only a minute of warming up on the coldest days which means you can start your car and drive off seconds later the rest of the time.

9. Check your gas cap — If your gas cap isn’t securely in place, gas will evaporate.  According to the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, as much as 30 gallons of gasoline can be wasted annually by drivers who routinely do not tighten their caps. At $4 per gallon, that’s $120 per year lost to the atmosphere.

Not every gas saving tip is sound including the one advising you to shut off the air-conditioning and drive with the windows down. That extra wind drag on your car will cancel out potential savings. Besides, you’ll get where you’re going hot, sweaty and in a foul mood!

See AlsoSayLending.com: What’s in the Garage



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Categories: Autos Express

About Author

Matthew C. Keegan

Matt Keegan is a freelance writer and editor as well as publisher of "Matt's Musings", his personal blog. Matt covers campus, consumer, business and financial topics on various websites and blogs, and has been published in the "Houston Chronicle", "Sam's Club Magazine" and "Wisconsin Golfer".