Even though gasoline prices usually stay low during the cold months we have seen an increase at the pump. Lower production is often cited as the reason for the continued increase but it is hard not to suspect pure greed when it is public knowledge that barrels of crude oil are back from its all time high prices. Given that the fuel business is a business just like any other, you need some strategies that allow you to get around while spending the least amount possible.
Use the Internet to Check
The Internet is one of the best places to get current information about fuel prices. There are numerous sites that allow members to text in or call in the prices of their local gas stations. As long as you will be in the area, getting gas at one of these less expensive stations is beneficial, as even $0.10 a gallon less really adds up over the course of the year.
Consider the Gas at the Supermarket or Warehouse
Warehouse stores have advantages and disadvantages. They go through a ton of gas, and that means they can react to changes in prices more quickly. I’ve seen my local store change prices two or three times a day as different trucks roll in and out. The disadvantage is that if the prices are rising, so does the price at the pump. However, their prices are lower most of the time, so go fill up there if there is one close by.
Supermarkets that are affiliated with gas stations often offer a discount at the pump if you purchase enough groceries. The catch here is that you are probably paying a lot more for your food here than at a cheaper store. Only you can figure out if it pays to save $1.40 or so per tank, so don’t always just assume without doing the calculation.
Change Your Driving Practices
As a nation we tend to accelerate fast, drive too quickly, overload our cars and drive mindlessly. This translates into wasted fuel. The first thing you need to do is make sure your tires are properly inflated. You lose a lot of mileage to poorly inflated tires. Secondly, check your filters and intake and clear them of any blockages.
Once you get on the road, don’t gun the engine. Accelerate slowly; it takes less gas to do so. Try to stick to one speed rather than speeding up and slowing down constantly, this too saves gas. Additionally, the faster you go over 55 mph, the less efficiently your car runs. Air resistance and motor strain conspire to cost you a lot of gas.
If saving gas is a main concern and if your job allows, consider changing the hours you commute to avoid the traffic jams. Stop and go traffic is never good for fuel consumption.
Finally, group your errands together and avoid back tracking repeatedly. By planning out your driving path you can significantly reduce your mileage, and that turns into direct savings.
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