Anyone who depends on their automobile these days is feeling the pinch of soaring gas prices. Russia’s aggression against Ukraine has rocked the petroleum market, and AAA reports the national gas price of $4.40 per gallon—an all-time high—is nearly 30 cents more than a month ago, and nearly $1.50 more than a year ago.
Apart from working from home when possible and re-thinking summer road trips, what can the average consumer do to get the most out of every tank of gas?
- Plan Your Errands – Instead of going to the bank one day and the post office the next, plan your route and set aside a block of time to run several errands at once.
- Check for Gas Prices – Websites like GasBuddy make it easy to find the best prices in your area. Typically, warehouse stores and gas stations farther from major highways and city centers tend to have better prices.
- Watch Your Speed – Higher speeds exact a toll in fuel consumption. Drive at steady speeds and remember that speeding up from 55 to 75 mph is like moving from a compact car to a large SUV.
- Consider Aerodynamics – At highway speeds, more than 50% of engine power goes to overcoming aerodynamic drag. Remove roof racks when they are not being used. According to AAA tests, carrying two mountain bikes on the roof of a car can reduce gas economy by as much as 13 mpg.
- Drop Excess Weight – No, not you, although it may be a good idea. But excess weight in the trunk sucks up fuel unnecessarily. Leave empty or unused cargo containers at home and clear out the clutter in the trunk for a smoother ride and steeper savings.
- Check Tire Pressure – Tires lose about 1 psi a month. Having tires with lower pressure than what is recommended on your door jamb sticker can affect performance, tire longevity and fuel economy.