There's no shortage of dumb advice for saving on gas. Here are the tips that really work.
Avoid left turns, brake as little as possible, turn off the AC, and roll up your windows — these are just some ridiculously impractical tips on how to save at the pump.
Gas prices have risen more than 40 cents in the last six months, and a recent survey by monthly magazine Consumer Reports found that fuel economy was the top concern for 37 percent of car shoppers, while 73 percent are considering hybrids and electric cars.
But Consumer Reports warns, “Our research shows that you’re often better off financially to stick it out with the vehicle you have if it’s less than 3 years old, because a new vehicle will cost you more in deprecation than you would save on gas.”
Still, there are smart, practical ways to save…
1. Go from lead foot to light foot
Automotive research site Edmunds.com tested a series of supposed gas-saving tips, such as driving with luggage on the roof and driving with windows down. Those ideas weren’t worth the effort, but this one was: You can save up to 35 percent on gas simply by accelerating and braking slower. And when you’re on the highway, set the cruise control to a max of 65 mph.
2. Check your tire pressure
The same study from Edmunds.com showed that tires that lost only a quarter of their pressure can cost up to 4 percent of fuel efficiency. The Department of Energy puts a dollar figure on it: 11 cents per gallon.
3. Get a gas app
There’s no shortage of apps that’ll compare prices of nearby gas stations. Some cost, some are free. GasBuddy is the latter. It shows you which gas stations are nearby and organizes them by price. How do they get this data? It’s crowdsourced among their users. How do you know the prices are accurate? Because GasBuddy holds daily drawings for $100 gas gift cards among its members.
4. Buy on the right days
Fill your tank on a Wednesday or Thursday before 10 a.m. Why? Because many gas stations up their prices on Thursday afternoon “in anticipation of weekend travel,” Forbes says. The business news site suggests not filling up on weekends.
5. Don’t idle too long
Edmunds puts it this way: “If you turn off a light bulb as you leave the room, you’ll save electricity. If you turn off your car, you will save gas.” Save up to 19 percent of your fuel by not leaving your car idling for more than a minute. Just turn it off.