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7 Ways to Save Money on Gas

It’s been a busy few weeks in the Middle East. Protests around the region are threatening regimes, and that is leading to possible instability in terms of oil supply. Indeed, violence in Libya [3] has prompted some oil companies to evacuate non-essential personnel and their families. With investors — and others — increasing worried about the supply lines out of the Middle East, it is no surprise that oil prices are on the way up.

Predictions are coming in that we will see $3.50 for gas this summer, and Fortune is reporting that the U.S. government believes that there is a 1-in-10 chance [4] that $4.00 gas is on tap for summer. So, what can you do about this? Gas prices are probably going to affect your personal economy — and soon.

Things You Can Do to Save Money on Gas

When it comes to pinching pennies on gasoline use [5], there are some things you can do to reduce the amount of fuel your car is using. Here are some things to try:

  1. Properly maintain your car: A maintained car burns less fuel. Keep your engine tuned up, inflate your tires to their recommended level and make sure your car is in good condition. Taking good care of your car not only helps it last longer, but makes it more fuel efficient.
  2. Slow down: It may be tedious to drive 55 mph instead of 65 mph (or, in my state, 65 mph instead of 75 mph), but it will save your gas. The same is true of making fast starts. Instead of exerting your car with jerkiness, work toward smooth acceleration.
  3. Stop warming up the car: A minute is all your car needs to warm up (although you might need longer). You can save fuel by reducing your car’s warm up time and just toughing it out.
  4. Plan your errands: Plan your errands so that you do them all on one day, rather than making multiple trips. Create an efficient route that gets things done quickly, and with as few left turns as can be managed.
  5. Purchase lower-grade octane: Check your manufacturer’s recommendations and get the lowest grade octane gas you can. It’s cheaper, saving you more at the pump.
  6. Look for discounts on gas: You can also look for the lowest-priced gas. There are apps and web sites that can help you locate the lowest-priced gas [6]. Additionally, you can find out which stations offer cash discounts. Look for gas stations with grocery store agreements. I get up to 20 cents off each gallon of gas (at a station with low prices to begin with) when I buy groceries at a certain store.
  7. Consider hoofing it: One of the best ways to save money on gas is to avoid using it when possible. Consider walking, biking or using public transportation when practical. Not only will you save money on gas, but you will develop a healthy habit that can save you money on medical costs down the road.

With some planning, and a little creativity, it is possible to save money on gas. You might even consider running a cost analysis to see if the gas savings (and other savings) would be enough to justify purchasing a vehicle that is more gas efficient, whether it is a smaller car or motorized scooter that uses less fuel, or a hybrid (although oil-based electricity could cost you in utility hikes for plug-ins).

What do you do to save money on gas?

(Photo: robbn1 [7])