5 Ways To Save On Gas
With gas prices on the rise, consumers are feeling pain at the pump. The national average is nearing $4 per gallon, with most areas on the West Coast surpassing that mark. In order to weather the latest surge in prices, check out these tips on how to save on gas. Tire Rack offers a large selection of tires for most vehicles. Taking care of your automobile, having the proper tires, and altering your driving habits are easy ways to boost your overall fuel economy.
In addition to safety, making sure your tires are properly inflated can help boost gas mileage. To determine how much pressure your tires need, consult the inside door panel, glove compartment, or the owner’s manual for your vehicle. Using the inflation value on the tire’s sidewall is not recommended, because that number represents the maximum amount of pressure the tire can handle, not what is optimal for your particular vehicle make and model.
Another change you may have noticed is that many service centers are putting nitrogen in the tires they sell. The benefits of nitrogen include the fact that nitrogen leaks slower than air and isn't affected by temperature changes. This helps ensure the correct tire pressure is maintained between each pressure check.
Speaking of checking the pressure in your tires, it is recommended to do this at least once per month. A tire can lose one pound of pressure per square inch with a 10 degree temperature drop. Checking your tire pressure can easily be done with a portable gauge, such as the one pictured. To remind yourself of when the monthly check is due, mark your calendar. This can be done on your smartphone, in Microsoft Outlook, on a wall calendar, or all three!
An easy way to get better gas mileage is by simply slowing down. You’re destined for less than optimal gas mileage if you put the pedal to the metal at each stoplight. Even though each vehicle's fuel usage is affected differently by varying speeds, a general rule of thumb is to maintain a speed less than 60 miles per hour for better gas mileage.
Do you drive a minivan? Removing a third row of bench seats can help boost your fuel economy by simply reducing the vehicle's weight. The same holds true for all of that extra equipment you store in your trunk. Get rid of anything that is non-essential. It's important to keep safety gear, such as basic tools and a first aid kit, though, in case of an emergency.
At first glance, it may seem like the obvious choice is to fuel your car with the cheapest gas. After all, in this economy every penny counts. But in the end, you may be counterproductive by filling your car with fuel that has too low of an octane level. This is especially true for many import or luxury vehicles. The manufacturer recommends regular, mid-grade, or supreme gas for a reason. If you own a newer BMW 3-Series, for instance, putting 87 octane gasoline in the vehicle will most likely decrease your gas mileage and performance.
As is the case with keeping your tires properly inflated, ensuring your car, truck, or SUV is properly maintained is necessary for safety reasons, as well as fuel economy. Keeping the air filter clean and using high quality oil (synthetic for many vehicles) helps preserve the longevity of the automobile and fends off expensive repairs. But what exactly does an air filter do? It keeps dust and dirt particles from damaging your engine. Having proper airflow means your car runs more efficiently, and that transcends into better gas mileage. Synthetic motor oil doesn’t break down as easily as low grade oil, which helps engine parts, such as the valves and pistons, move smoothly.
Ways to Save
Of course, one way to truly save money on gas is by carpooling, walking, or biking. Form a carpool group with co-workers for an easy way to get to the office. Or take advantage of van pool services and metro transit. When you do take your car out for a solo trip, be sure to avoid peak times when traffic is at a standstill to improve fuel economy. Also if you’re shopping for a new vehicle, check out hybrid or electric vehicles, such as the Honda Civic Hybrid, Toyota Prius, and Chevrolet Volt. Be on the lookout for a redesigned fuel label on 2012 model year vehicles that come out this fall. The proposed label(s) should be easier to interpret for better decision making.
Think the tires on your current vehicle are worn out? An easy way to check is by placing a U.S. penny in multiple tread grooves. If Lincoln’s head remains covered with several checks along the tire, there is more than 2/32" of tread depth. And while tires are legally deemed worn out when 2/32" remains, that doesn’t mean it’s necessarily safe to drive up until that point. If you drive in rainy or snowing conditions, it’s recommended to have at least 4/32" of tread depth left.
Ordering tires can be done with the click of a mouse at Tire Rack. With an easy to use tool, you can find the right tires based on your vehicle’s make and model or tire size. And with several manufacturer rebates and incentives, it’s easy to save on your tire purchase.