By Sara Gilbert, GreenPath group manager for Colorado and Wyoming
Gas prices are on the rise again (up some 30 cents per gallon in the Midwest, this past weekend!), which can eat into your monthly budget. Also, the approaching summer months are the time for weekend road trips and longer vacation travel.
Get on top of the things you can control with your vehicle to get the most out of your gasoline dollar. If you have been worried about keeping your gasoline budget in check, here are some good reminders when you turn that key or drive up to the pump:
Check your tire pressure every time you fill up. 50 percent of us are driving around on under inflated tires.
You can lose up to 6 percent in gas mileage, for every pound of tire under-inflation.
Also in the tire department, choose steel belted radials over other tires and you could increase your gas mileage by up to 10 percent.
Get a tune-up and save up to 25 percent of your gas over a poorly tuned car. Stop squeezing those last few ounces of gas into your car after you finish filling. During hot weather, gas expands and can overflow.
Watch idling your car on cool mornings to warm it up. A quart of gas is used up while idling for 15 minutes. Most car engines are designed to warm up as you go so less than a minute should be sufficient. Check your owner’s manual for your particular car.
Most new cars need only about 10 seconds of idling to get themselves into the ready mode.
Combine your trips and carpool when you can. Walk, use your bike, or take public transportation. Even using an alternate transportation mode one day a week will save you 20% of your expected weekly gas budget for travel to work and back.
Always accelerate gently and look ahead as you travel through traffic to anticipate upcoming slow-downs or stops. Coasting and keeping your foot off the gas pedal will help will help you keep a smoother ride which helps your gas mileage.
Reduce your speed. You will use 20 percent more gas at 70 mph versus 50 mph.
Many grocery stores offer gasoline points that take 10 cents offer per gallon or more when you shop using your point’s card. A good web site or app is called GasBuddy.com where you can log in to find the lowest gas prices in your area or use the app to price gas a stations near you.
Don’t carry around extra weight in your trunk or in the back of your pick up. The extra pounds cause you to use up more gas.
And of course if you are in the market for a new vehicle, consider the fuel efficiency of the model you are considering purchasing. A more fuel efficient model could save you literally thousands over the life of the car in the coming years.
A few tweaks here and there to your vehicle and driving habits, can help really stretch that gallon of gas this summer!