8 Old Habits That Are Draining Your Money at the Gas Pump
The prices at the gas pump won’t stop escalating, which is only causing a ton of angst and frustration. We have no other option than to start doing that annoying thing we have learned from older folks, which is to tell ourselves that things aren’t as bad as they seem.
In the past, when the gas shortages and surging gas prices hit us in the 1970s, I vividly remember sitting with my grannie for hours, waiting in a line full of people who were waiting to fill up the family station wagon in the gas station.
Back then, my relatives could only get gasoline on odd-numbered days of the month, depending on the last digit of their license plates. To save a couple of bucks during this crisis, they rarely drove anywhere else except for the most crucial places.
Ever since Russia invaded Ukraine, and our President decided to ban the import of oil and natural gas from Russia, the spike in gas prices hit us in the family jewels, so to speak.
So we’re forced to find new ways to save money on gas, which leads us to the reason why we’re here. If we’re going to re-learn everything we knew so far about this matter, we should start by correcting our old habits, which nowadays can easily be seen as “mistakes”, because that’s what happens when you want to save up: you become frugal.
You’re not going to the cheapest station
It’s probably more convenient to choose a gas station that’s right around the corner from your home, but this doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll get the best price, too!
If you want to be up-to-date with the best prices out there, you can always download various gas price apps and check a couple of websites that will help you locate the cheapest gas in your neighborhood.
Ignoring loyalty programs
Did you ever hear that many major gas chains such as Circle K, Exxon Mobil, and Shell, have these great fuel rewards programs that will help you save A LOT of money when you go to their gas stations? If you made a habit of getting your gas at the same station, this is probably a great option for you to consider.
Waiting too long to fuel up
You should never wait until your gas light comes on to go to the gas station. Driving while the tank is almost empty will only leave you with a huge risk of being stranded. Plus, running out of gas might damage your vehicle’s fuel pump in time.
Choosing premium gasoline
Premium gasoline might cost 30 percent or even more than the regular one. And if you think things are fair and square, it’s not true, as that extra cost is there without any other benefits, according to the Federal Trade Commission. After a certain study has been conducted, AAA realized that drivers wasted over $2 billion on premium gasoline only in 2015.
Not inflating your tires correctly
Inflating tires at any gas station will definitely cost you a couple of bucks, but it would still be a good idea to check your tires when you fuel up, and also add air if needed. Driving with under-inflated tires will have a negative impact on your gas mileage.
Not using any rewards credit card
Lots of credit cards will offer you now a wide variety of perks that would work for your benefits, such as cashback incentives at different gas stations or even grocery stores. Check to see what offers you’ve got!
Choosing the wrong day to fuel
Gas prices might differ, depending on the day of the week. I know it sounds like science fiction, but it’s true. For instance, the first days of the week have cheaper gas prices, compared to the weekend. So if you want to go for the lowest gas price, you should never wait until Friday or Sunday to fuel back up!
Topping off your tank when you fuel up probably doesn’t seem like a very big deal, but this is by far one of the most common mistakes you could make when you go to the gas pump. Over-fueling might damage your engine and reduce its performance, as GasBuddy explained.
Even more, most gas station pumps have these vapor recovery systems, which are made to absorb any excess gas that’s been released when the car is filled, to protect the car and the environment.
And now, because WE KNOW there are a couple of popular beliefs circulating among car-owners on how to save up more gas, we’re here to say which ones are true and which are not:
Can slowing down save up some gas?
If you’re the kind of person who’s a heavy-foot speed demon, you’re definitely costing yourself a couple of bucks. Slow down and you will make a significant dent in the price you’re paying at the pump! According to experts, fuel economy peaks around 50 mph on the majority of cars, then drops off as the speed increases. Reducing highway speeds by 5 to 10 mph might increase fuel economy by as much as 14 percent. On top of that, you could also avoid a speeding ticket.
What about stop-and-go traffic? Can I save some gas by turning off my vehicle?
If it’s safe to do so, you should consider shutting off your engine, if you’ll be stopped for more than a minute. A car engine is known to consume one-quarter to one-half gallon of fuel every hour when it’s on idle.
However, a warm engine might take around 10 seconds’ worth of fuel to restart, according to AAA. AAA would also recommend you to avoid rapid acceleration, hard braking and “jack rabbit” starts, or even shooting forward at a higher speed.
Any of these actions might lower fuel economy as much as 15 to 30 percent at highway speeds, and 10 to 40 percent when it comes to stop-and-go traffic.
Can I really save some gas if I get rid of things in my trunk?
While it won’t make a hole in your pocket, if you want to go frugal all the way, an extra 100 pounds might reduce fuel economy as much as 1 percent. While it doesn’t seem so much, you could combine emptying the truck with a couple of other measures, like slowing down and making sure your tires are inflated with the needed pressure.
As I mentioned before, underinflated tires might have a negative impact on fuel economy as much as 10 percent, according to AA. Plus, cargo weight can also affect the fuel mileage of much smaller vehicles, rather than larger ones.
And the elephant in the room: Should I sell my car and get an electric vehicle?
Truth to be told, on the long run, it might benefit you more getting an electric vehicle, but also the environment. As gas prices go up, more Americans consider getting greener vehicles.
Since early February to early March, online searches of hybrid, plug-in hybrid and electric vehicles have swallowed the internet by 39 percent. But RIGHT NOW, getting an electric vehicle is definitely not the best idea.
Why? Because the market also suffers from a strong microchip shortage, and the prices have skyrocketed for all the new and used vehicles. So for the moment, it would be the best to wait a bit longer.
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