Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Saving money on gasoline!

Folks...it's summer time. That time of the year where people go on crazy road trips and use huge amounts of gas. The time of year when the gas companies think "hey, we need to shut down our plants! Oh, so the price of gas goes up. Lucky us!"

With that in mind, I thought I would share some tips for getting the most out of every gallon that you do buy.

You need to do the regular maintenance. I know, I know, money is tight! But regular oil changes means the engine lasts longer. Getting the regular fixes done (changing the spark-plugs when they are supposed to be changed, get the old fuel filter switched out) makes the car run more efficiently. My car had a spark plug that was misfiring, and it killed my mpgs. Worth the money to make sure it's all running tip-top! Plus, you stress less about the engine blowing out while on the road.

Make sure your tires are properly inflated. Weird, I know, but the amount of tire that comes in contact with the road affect your mileage. So, check that manual and make sure the proper psi is in the tires. Know that heat will make the air expand, so don't overfill them in the AM! Go with what the manual says.

Buy your gas in the morning or late evening. Whenever it is coolest. The liquid is more dense in the cool of the day.

Avoid getting gas when the truck is refilling the underground tanks. When they pour in all the new gas, it stirs up sediment off the bottom of the tank and increases the chance that you will get gunk in your engine (yup, it's a technical term!).

Gas prices go up and down over the week, but are typically lowest on Wednesday. Prices begin creeping up on Thursday, to take advantage of the weekend, and sneak back down a penny or so on Mondays and Tuesdays. Try to plan your fill-ups on Wednesday to get the best deal. (You also might check out on-line sites that find the cheapest gas in your zip code!)

Air-conditioning or run with the windows down? For you lucky ones with the AC, if you are driving 50 mph or faster, it's about a wash between the pull of the AC and the drag of having the car windows open, so you may as well revel in the cool air! (Me, I have no AC, and I make the kids roll up the windows on the freeway. Poor children...we bond together in our suffering in the hot car!)

Other tips---try to park in the shade during summer to keep your car cool. Yes, I am the odd-ball who parks WAY out in the back side of the parking lot, just to get in the shade. It honestly works (and if you don't have AC, you need all the help you can get!). Plan your trips carefully, and drive in a circle whenever possible. I mean, mentally note all your stops, and plan it so there is no back-tracking. Lighten up the load! I forget stuff in my car (or leave my sons sports gear in the car for forever), but all that excess stuff adds weight to the car (making the engine work harder). So, unload all that extra stuff!

I think that is the main ones. Please add any other great ideas!

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