Most people wouldn't put a pile of money on their driveway and set it on fire.
But when you drive, you're essentially burning money - and with gas prices on the rise, we're all burning more money via our gas tanks than ever before.
It doesn't have to be that way. In fact, these six steps will save you $20 - $50 every month on gasoline.
1) Drive LESS. How? Walk, especially if you're traveling distances less than a mile and don't need to carry heavy loads. Bike. More than half of all commuting trips are 5 miles or less in length, a distance easily covered by two wheels rather than four. Scoot, with an electric scooter that costs far less to charge than it does to fuel up a car with gas. Get organized, so you can combine trips and chores rather than going back and forth to do them. Pay your bills and shop online. That includes using grocery delivery services if they're available in your area. Carpool. Share the drive and share the bill. Avoid rush hour. Telecommute, go to work early and leave early, or look for other ways to avoid the worst times of the day to be in a car. Because when you're just sitting in traffic, you're just burning money.
2) Drive SMART. What does "smart" mean? More or less, it's what you learned when you took driving lessons all those years ago before you even got your driver's license. Start with the speed limit. Stick to it. The U.S. Department of Energy says that every 5 mph you drive above 50 mph can lower gas mileage by 7% or more. That could amount to as much as $.52 a gallon! Slow down a little and put the money in the bank. Plus, turn the car off rather than idle. Idling gets zero miles per gallon; if that's not a waste of gas and money, I don't know what is! Don't be a "jackrabbit" and speed up only to have to slow down in between stop signs and traffic signals. As for tailgating, it can cost you 1-2 percent in fuel efficiency. What a waste.
3) Drive CHEAP. In most cases, your engine can tolerate the cheapest gas you can find. Get to know where gas costs less and buy yours there. The GasBuddy mobile app makes it easy to find the cheapest gas on your driving route every day. Don't top off your tank. Not only will you waste money, but that "extra" evaporates pretty quickly, contributing to air pollution. Pay cash. It can be ten or twenty cents a gallon cheaper than paying by credit card. Use gas rewards programs. I earn gas points at my grocery store that I can use to lower the price I pay at the pump by ten, twenty and even thirty cents a gallon.
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