Have you noticed that the gas prices are steadily inching up? I have and it seems like I get a new gray hair with every penny increase. In some cases it’s jumped ten to 15 cents overnight. If you have been looking for ways to save money at the pump, here are a few tried and true ideas. My dad, a mechanic, told me about a few of them long ago when I got my first car, but there are a few things I didn’t know. Read these tips and start using them ASAP!
1. Fill up your tank on Wednesday or Thursday before 10 am. Gas prices rise on Thursdays in anticipation of weekend travel. 10 am is when most station owners make their price change for the day. Unless it is an emergency, do not buy gas Friday, Saturday or Sunday.
2. Don’t let your car idle, either when you warm it up or when you are at a standstill. If you’re going to be standing for more than a minute, running your engine wastes more gas than restarting the engine.
3. Buy gas when it’s cooler during the day (like the early morning or at night) to reduce gas evaporation.
4. Remove unnecessary items in your car. Every 250 extra pounds eats up an extra mile per gallon of gas.
5. Avoid the convenient gas station on the side of the highway as you drive home from work which can be up to $.15 more per gallon.
6. Save money with self-service and look for gas stations where paying cash costs the same as using a credit or debit card.
7. Double check the attendant and ensure, if you are paying by cash, that “cash” is noted on the pump. You could lose $.05 a gallon if he mistakenly presses “credit.”
8. Drive less – combine errands, carpool, and plot out the shortest route with a driving website beforehand. It may sound obvious but it is often overlooked.
9. Check for traffic and detours online or on the radio prior to beginning your drive to avoid wasteful backtracking and idling.
10. Keep your windows closed when driving on the highway. Open windows can reduce your gas mileage by as much as 10%. In stop-and-go traffic, open the windows and turn off the air conditioning to save more money.
11. Rent fuel-efficient cars when you travel and research reasonably priced places to buy gas before you leave.
12. Confirm with your mechanic what octane gasoline your car’s engine really needs. Most car engines do not require high octane though the manual will say its “recommended.”
13. Download a Gas App for your phone. If you have a Smartphone, there are plenty of free apps that help you find the cheapest gas near your destination. GasBuddy makes it easy with its free app, and Mapquest has an online finder for gas prices.
14. Buy Discount Gas Gift Cards – Did you know you don’t have to pay full price for a gift card? Sites like GiftCardGranny.com offer a diverse selection of discount gas gift cards from various card vendors.
15. Be loyal to one gas company and get rewarded with its cash-back credit card reward program.
Chris Faulkner is President and Chief Executive Officer Breitling Oil and Gas, (www.BreitlingOilandGas.com), a Dallas-based independent oil and gas exploration and production company.