Gasoline is continuing to eat a larger portion of your paycheck, which is pretty disheartening for any commuters. In fact, the average American family spends anywhere from 2% - 5% of their paycheck just on gas
However, there are still quite a few ways to save on gas – even today. By taking advantage of rewards programs, maintaining your vehicle well, and driving right, you can maximize your fuel efficiency and savings.
We’ll run you through our top ways to save money on gas in 2023, including:
- Using gas rewards cards and apps
- Paying with cash (sometimes!)
- Choosing the right fuel oil changes
- Watching your idling and utilizing cruise control
- How to best use your car during winter
- Optimal tire pressure and vehicle weight
- And more.
Let’s dive in so you can start saving!
- Use A Gas Rewards Card
There are many gas reward cards that can help you save on gas. These are generally either linked to a specific provider (like a gas station) or to a credit card.
When you use the card, you can get access to benefits like special rates, reward points, and even cashback offers! These vary widely depending on the specific card, but they can save you a significant amount if you take advantage of them.
- Use A Gas App To Find Cheap Gas
It’s well known that different service stations have different gas prices, but it can be hard to keep track of (not to mention changes all the time!).
Instead, it’s a great move to download a gas app onto your phone (or other device) that will show you all of the cheapest gas prices in real time.
The most popular app right now is probably GasBuddy, which uses crowd-sourcing to determine the cheapest gas prices near you.
You can use it in your daily commute, but it’s even more useful if you’re planning a longer trip. GasBuddy will find all the cheapest places for you to fuel up along your route, which can make a serious difference given today’s gas prices.
It also offers its own gas rewards card – Pay with GasBuddy – which offers exclusive deals at a wide range of gas stations. You can use it in combination with the app to maximize your savings!
- Pay For Your Gas In Cash
Many smaller or localized gas stations give you a better deal when you pay with cash as it saves them on card processing fees.
You probably won’t get a cash discount at larger chains (like Exxon, Shell, or BP), but these stations offer their own rewards programs.
- Buy The Right Fuel For Your Vehicle
It’s really important that you use the right type of fuel in your car. Generally, gas stations offer:
Ethanol Blends: Cheaper and less environmentally damaging, high ethanol blends like E85 can be used in flex-fuel vehicles. Meanwhile, blends with less ethanol (like 88 and 87) can be used in most newer vehicles and generally are lower cost.
Diesel: Low-percentage ethanol blends may still be classed as diesel, or it may contain other additives. Generally, larger vehicles and those with high fuel consumption run on diesel for maximum efficiency.
Premium Diesel: Premium Diesel is classed as having the smallest amount of additives, and therefore keeps the engine as clean as possible. High-powered sports cars or other expensive vehicles may require premium diesel.
Which type of fuel you need depends on your personal vehicle. If you’re not sure, check the owner's manual or look online!
If you choose the wrong type, your car may not run at all – costing you both the cost of the tank and likely maintenance fees. Alternatively, it may run at a very bad fuel efficiency and risk engine damage.
- Change Motor Oil Regularly
Old motor oil can reduce fuel efficiency by clogging your filters, not providing lubrication, and causing heat build-up.
If you let it go too long, you could be looking at complete engine failure and a written-off vehicle.
In newer vehicles, you may only need to change your oil every six to twelve months, while for older vehicles every three months is the recommendation.
However, it really depends on your exact vehicle and how much you drive. If you’re driving frequently or over long distances, it may need to be changed more often.
- Limit Air Conditioner Usage
Air conditioners are usually powered by the engine rather than the battery because of their high energy demands.
Running the A.C. can use up your fuel and reduce your efficiency. Cracking a window instead when possible can save you a lot in the long run!
- Avoid Idling
Idling refers to keeping your engine running while your vehicle is not moving. This occurs when stopped at a light or in traffic, but also when parked.
Idling wastes a lot of fuel – much more than restarting the engine – so try to turn your car off for longer stops to minimize fuel consumption.
Idling is also bad for your long-term engine health, as well as creating unnecessary emissions. As such, there are plenty of reasons to avoid it!
- Use Cruise Control
Cruise control is a system that automatically maintains your vehicle's speed once you've set it.
It can be super useful if you are going over a longer stretch of road without needing to stop or change speeds.
As well as being convenient, it saves you on fuel as you use more when you accelerate!
- Leverage A Navigation System
Try using a navigation system, which can either be a GPS unit or a map application on your personal device!
This can help you find the shortest routes, which leads to using less fuel as well as avoiding traffic – reducing idling time.
Make sure to set your route before you get going and to keep your eyes on the road while driving!
- Drive Slowly
While it may seem counter-intuitive, driving slower actually maximizes your fuel efficiency!
Going faster (and especially accelerating frequently) uses more fuel.
In fact, it’s been shown that reducing your speed by only 5 or 10 miles per hour can make your vehicle almost 15% more fuel efficient!
- Keep Your Car Warm In The Winter
Keeping the car warm enough to run uses up a lot of fuel unnecessarily.
If you can, keeping your car in a garage or covered parking space during the colder months can keep it five to fifteen degrees warmer – minimizing the amount of fuel it needs to heat up.
It’s also a myth that you need to idle to warm your car up. If it starts, it’s good to go!
- Keep Tires Inflated
Properly inflated tires make your car run easier and better. When they’re deflated, it can actually decrease your miles per gallon, as well as lead to more wear and tear (and eventually expensive tire replacement).
Generally, tires should be inflated to 32 to 35 PSI for most vehicles. However, this is too low for trucks and other large vehicles.
If you’re unsure, it often states on the inside of the driver-side door or in the owner's manual what the tire pressure of your car should be.
- Remove Unnecessary Vehicle Weight
The heavier your vehicle is, the fewer miles per gallon you’re going to get! It simply uses more fuel to move more weight.
Using a lighter economy vehicle for your daily commute is the most straightforward solution, but you can also lighten your existing car.
This could mean anything from removing unnecessary items from your vehicle to replacing heavier components with lighter alternatives.
It’s important to keep safety in mind, however! For example, do not remove your spare tire and jack (unless you’re a racecar driver, of course).
- Explore Alternative Fuel Sources
Purchasing a hybrid or electric vehicle comes with a high upfront cost, but you’ll save a lot on fuel in the long term.
One study has found that owning an electric car is around seventy percent cheaper than running a gas-powered car. Depending on where you live, you may also receive government-granted financial incentives for choosing to drive electric.
Other alternative fuels include biodiesel, which is a renewable diesel made from plant oils, as well as other naturally replenishing sources that are available from some gas stations. High ethanol blends like E85 can also be used in flex-fuel vehicles.
Does driving on the highway save gas?
Yes, using the highway can lead to reduced gas usage, because there is less stopping and starting (and less time spent idling) than driving in the city.
However, this is only true if you drive the speed limit and try to maintain a constant speed on the highway as much as possible.
Does four-wheel drive use more gas?
Yes, four-wheel drive does use more gas than two-wheel drive because there are more components to power.
What car has the best gas mileage?
Other than electric or hybrid vehicles, modern, lightweight sedans generally get the best gas mileage.
What car has the worst gas mileage?
Heavier, faster cars, and especially older vehicles, generally have the worst gas mileage. This includes most sports cars, many Rolls-Royces, Ford trucks, and Jeeps.