Standard disclosure: we may earn money from the companies mentioned in this post. Visit my disclosure page for more info
Is the cost of commuting taking a serious bite out of your budget? Although they may fluctuate day to day, gas prices have been on the rise lately and many drivers’ wallets are taking a beating. If driving is a necessity, there’s no real way around the cost of fuel. However, there are multiple ways to lower your fuel costs significantly with a little bit of time and effort.
Choose a Fuel-Efficient Vehicle
One of the most obvious ways to save money on fuel is to trade your car in for a more efficient model. Smaller cars tend to have better mileage than larger trucks or SUVs, but comparing fuel economy numbers at listings sites like Carsales may surprise you. Some crossover SUVs now offer better mileage than smaller city cars, so it’s worth comparing all of your options. Although hybrids and electric cars come with a higher upfront price, they may save you money in the long run. The popular Toyota Prius not only offers a competitive fuel economy, but it also holds its value well for resale.
Keep your Car Properly Maintained
In addition to choosing a car that offers a high level of efficiency to begin with, you can get more for your money by keeping it properly serviced. Simple factors like poorly tuned engines, clogged air filters, or underinflated tires can make a huge difference in the amount of fuel your car needs to burn. With regular service checks, you can cut your consumption by as much as 10%.
If you have a bunch of errands to run, it’s more economical to store them up and take care of them all in one go rather than take separate small trips. It takes a bit of planning and a good block of time to consolidate your trips, but it will cut fuel costs by a mile. There are now a variety of smartphone apps that help you choose the most economic route for multiple stops, like Route4Me and Google Maps Navigation.
Lots of new cars like the Hyundai Veloster come equipped with stop-start technology nowadays, which automatically shuts the engine down at stop signs or red lights and starts it up again when the driver accelerates. However, if you’re driving an older vehicle you can boost fuel efficiency by avoiding idling. Rather than letting the engine run to warm up your car in cold weather, it’s better to drive it slowly around the block. If you are stopped in traffic for over 10 seconds, it may be better to turn off the engine.
Reduce Weight and Drag
You can drive more efficiently by doing away with any unnecessary weight in your car. Roof racks or boxes can be removed when you’re not using them, and excess cargo in the backseat can be taken out to lighten your load. Drive with the windows up when possible, and reduce air conditioning consumption to save power.
By taking the time to plan your journey and choose a more efficient vehicle, you can slowly but surely see your fuel bills start to shrink.