How to Save When Gas Hits $5 a Gallon

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OdometerOil has been quietly creeping up in the early months of 2012 and if 2008 is any indication, as oil goes up, spending in other areas goes down and that’s not good for the economy. In fact, for every 1 cent increase in the price of oil, the collective amount of disposable income in the United States is reduced by $600 million per year.

As prices rise, we all start thinking about how we can cut down on our fuel costs. Because fuel is a necessity for most Americans, cutting our bill as prices rise is a difficult task but there are some ways to counteract those rising prices, at least partially.

Slow Down

If you were one of those who believed that driving faster saved fuel because of such concepts as drafting and inertia, you’re wrong, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. They claim that for each 5 miles per hour driven over 60mph, you’re paying an extra 24 cents per gallon for fuel. (along with the occasional speeding ticket) If you like your car humming along at 70mph or more, save those speeds for times when gas is well below $4 per gallon. Can’t fight the urge? Use cruise control.

Turn it Off

Sitting in the parking lot waiting for cheerleading practice to end? Don’t sit there with your car running for long periods of time. Depending on your car, you may be burning through a quarter to half gallon of fuel every hour. That might not seem like much but how many cheerleading practices are there every month? How about the many other times you sit in your car and wait?

Lighten Up

Do you keep the equivalent of a spare bedroom in your car most day? An extra 100 pounds of weight affects your fuel economy by 2% costing you 4 to 7 cents per gallon according to Clean out your car and get rid of anything that you don’t need during normal driving.

There’s an App for That

Apps like the AAA TripTik Mobile iPhone app will show you where to find the cheapest gas prices in your area and AAA isn’t alone. Not only are there a variety of smartphone apps, as gas prices go higher, local news channels scope out the best deals as well as websites like that provide the lowest prices in the United States and Canada. Driving out of your way to save a few cents may not be worth your time but it’s not uncommon for different gas stations to have large price differences and that is worth your time.

Settle Down

Are you one of those drivers who is one step away from a road rage style breakdown any time you drive? Maybe you’re always running late and everybody else is out for a Sunday drive while you have places to be 10 minutes ago. If that’s you, you’re probably burning through more gas than you should be. You might be lowering your gas mileage by up to 33% at highway speeds and 5% in the city. That’s more than $1 per gallon assuming gas is $3.59. $1 per gallon seems like a good reason to leave a little earlier.

Of course the best way to save on fuel is carpool or not drive at all but for most of us, that’s impractical. We can often cut down on our driving by planning our trips more carefully but even then, winning the war of rising fuel prices often means cutting the budget in other ways. How do you save on fuel when prices go up?

(Photo: thatguyfromcchs08)

{ 7 comments, please add your thoughts now! }

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7 Responses to “How to Save When Gas Hits $5 a Gallon”

  1. rlaw100 says:

    I bought a GPS which has saved me a substantial amount of time and gas by getting me the shortest path to a particular location. I rarely get lost nowadays.

  2. freeby50 says:

    “for every 1 cent increase in the price of oil, the collective amount of disposable income in the United States is reduced by $600 million per year.”

    The article linked to actually talks about 1 cent increase in the price of gasoline, not oil.

  3. I found a coworker to carpool with. That saved both of us a good amount of money 🙂

  4. yourPFpro says:

    A lot of people don’t consider the monthly savings mpg will have. If you drive 50 miles a day to work and back like me(35 mpg):

    (50 miles/day)*(22 days/mo)*(1gal/(35) miles)*($5/gal) = $157/month.

    If I’m at 20mpg, I’ll have to pay $118/month more. That is a huge difference!

  5. Squeezer says:

    I recently had a posting on my blog on how to save on gas. It featured tips such as using a 5% cash back gas credit card and filling up before prices rise.

  6. Shirley says:

    We keep a list of errands to be run and stops to be made and then mentally map them out so that we can accomplish them in one big circle rather than backtracking. We also do as many as possible in one trip. It’s such a simple but often overlooked idea and it really does save on the gas.

  7. timparker says:


    Thanks for the catch on that. You’re correct.


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