With gas prices skyrocketing, we’re all looking for ways to save money on our car – or figure out ways to drive less! But driving is quite integral to everyday life in the United States – public transportation isn’t that great (in most non-urban locations) and many places that we would need to run errands to daily or weekly are not within walking distance.
So what should you do?
Well, first things first, when you were shopping for cars (or if you’re shopping for a new one) you should make sure that you get all the discounts that you can up front, and do what you can to talk down the price. And if you’re really looking to save, you can go for the smaller model – they’re usually cheaper, and because they are lighter, they will often get better gas mileage.
You’re also going to want to be wary of buying any kind of insurance through the car dealership – life insurance or otherwise. You’ll end up paying a whole lot more (up to 500% more) and – on top of that- probably paying interest too.
Fuel economy is going to play in to your purchasing as well – but don’t just go by what the stated MPG is – remember to take into account any number of factors that will lower your mileage, like using the air conditioning, manual versus automatic gear shifting, 4 versus 6 cylinder. All of these will impact the gas mileage of the car – take into account what you’re willing to sacrifice for gas mileage.
When you actually have your car, one of the easiest ways to save on gas is not use any higher than the recommended octane for your car – that alone is saving you probably about 15 cents a gallon, so around $15 a fill-up.
As I’m sure you’ve already done, but just a friendly reminder, is to stake out all your local gas stations and see who has the cheapest gas. There’s high competition, so there is bound to be some variation.
This last tip for gas consumption may be a bit hard for some of the lead foots out there – don’t be an aggressive driver! Every time you rev the engine, you’re increasing your fuel consumption drastically, as much as 2 miles per gallon. That’s a lot of lost gas mileage over the course of a year. So keep an eye on your acceleration and don’t push your car too the red too often.
Regularly (every 3,000 miles) change your oil – and make sure that you actually read your car owner’s manual, so you know what kind of repairs and regular maintenance you should be doing on your car – and so that you’re in the know if the car repair shop tells you you need to change something that you may not actually need to.
You’re going to also want to keep copies of all the work that has been done on your car, and know what has been done, so you don’t end up doing the same work twice, or anything like that.
Don’t Use It All The Time
If you need to run errands just down the road, walk or bike, don’t use your car! It’s a very simple way to save money on gas and on car maintenance, but it’s one that a lot of people seem to avoid or forget about – you don’t have to drive everywhere.
What do you do to save money on your car?
Regina Clark is a freelance writer who thinks that saving money on cars – which includes staying safe with proper insurance. If you don’t know that much about insurance, here’s a guide to comprehensive auto insurance that you may find helpful. What do you think are the things that you should pay more for on your car?