Lucky for those of us who live in North America, gas prices have been on the decline recently and it’s a welcomed respite from the high prices we’ve been paying for a few years. I, for one, have been saving a ton at the pumps these past couple of months and am thankful, as road tripping is a way of life for me and my family. My family and I spend thousands of miles on freeways each year heading from one destination to another, and I’m always looking for tips to save money on gas for our road trips. Here are a few of the easiest ways I have found to save at the pumps.
Free Money-Saving Apps
My smart phone is attached to my hip on road trips. One of the main reasons why is for the fuel-efficient apps I have downloaded. There’s an app for every travel and budgeting style from saving money at the pumps to finding the most efficient route to get where you’re going.
Gas Buddy is super popular and shows users the nearest gas stations and prices per gallon. If saving 10 cents per gallon on a fill-up means driving only a mile or two farther, it’s definitely worth it.
Bankrate Calculator is a useful website that lets you know if it’s cost-effective or not to drive to another gas station based on the info you punch into it.
Waze is great for giving real-time updates on current traffic levels and will recalculate your route if a traffic pile-up happens. Who wants to sit in gridlock? Not this girl.
Remember the Yellow Pages? The same people who did the Yellow Pages created Gas Guru– an app for both iOS and Android that allows users to save their favorite locations for later use and search farther down the road for the least expensive gas prices.
Are your kids bored of the installed apps on your smart phone already? Here are a few ideas that will combat boredom on your next road trip.
Fuel Perks and Loyalty Cards
Many grocery stores and big-name stores now offer fuel perks to customers as a way of saying thank you for being a loyal shopper.
Fuel perks cards are free to sign up for and offer a flat cents-off price when you scan your card at the pump or give cents off per gallon once you spend a certain amount at a store.
I have purchased gift cards for vacations when there’s a double fuel perks event and have gained enough to get an entire tank of gas for free with additional savings on my next fill-up! Sign-ups for loyalty cards can be done on your next visit to a participating store and generally only takes a few minutes.
Keep the Windows Rolled Up Over 45 MPH
Fuel efficiency drastically decreases when traveling over 45 mph if your vehicle’s windows are down. The increase in airflow inside your car creates wind drag, which means it’s actually more cost effective to use the air conditioner.
Traveling at under 45 mph? Go ahead and open those windows for some fresh air.
Car Maintenance and Driving Tips
Changing your car’s filters, checking the gas cap for tightness, and keeping your car’s tires at the proper inflation level will all do wonders for fuel efficiency. An efficient car is a happy car and will pay you back in better gas mileage.
While you’re at it, try not to continuously accelerate and decelerate if possible and use your cruise control when it’s safe to do so. A time that cruise control isn’t safe? On wet or slippery roads or during heavy rainstorms. Your car’s wheels may actually spin faster during rainy or slippery conditions and, once they are able to gain traction, it may cause your vehicle to lose control.
Your car’s owners manual is in the glove compartment for a reason- take a few minutes to check the maintenance schedule to stay on top of suggested tune-ups. Can’t find it? Search online for your vehicle’s manual by make and model.