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It is no secret that gas prices have been on the rise. Drivers are stuck paying more and more each time they fill up their tanks, placing an ever greater strain on family budgets and making it hard er than ever to save money.
From unrest in the Middle East to the threat posed by peak oil, there are plenty of things to worry about when you drive your car. You may not be able to do anything about those large problems, but you can control how much gas your car uses and ultimately how much you spend. These tips can help you squeeze more miles out of every gallon you buy.
1 – Skip the High Test
Unless you have a high-performance sports car, you probably do not need premium gasoline. Premium blends can be as much as 40 or even 50 cents more per gallon, so running your car on regular unleaded could save you hundreds of dollars a year.
One note of warning – be sure to check with the dealer before switching to a lower grade of gasoline. If your car was truly designed to run only on premium, you could void the warranty by using a lesser grade of gasoline.
2 – Compare Brands
In theory every brand of gasoline should give you the same mileage, but in reality that is rarely the case. Every brand of gasoline uses its own unique blend of additives, and that can affect how far your car goes on each gallon.
Keep a careful log of the number of gallons you put in your tank each time you fill up, the number of miles you traveled and the brand of gasoline you used. After a few fillips at each station, you should start to see a pattern. Choosing the station that gives you the most miles per gallon can be a smart strategy, even if the price per gallon is a few pennies more.
3 – Keep Your Tires Inflated
Running on under-inflated tires can reduce your gas mileage significantly and put you and your passengers in danger. Many gas stations include free air stations where you can check the tire pressure and top up as necessary, so there is no reason not to do it.
Get into the habit of checking your tire pressure each time you gas u p. Just pull away from the pump, top off your tires and head on your way.
4 – Get the Junk Out of Your Trunk
If your car has become an extension of your house, it is time to ditch the extra cargo and lighten the load. Every extra pound in the trunk reduces your gas mileage to some extent. If you have a hundred pounds of extra junk in your car, your mileage could be significantly impacted.
Getting the junk out of your trunk will also make it easy to change a tire if the need ever arises The last thing you want to do is spend time digging through the trunk in search of the jack and spare tire.
5 – Never Run on Empty
Letting your gas tank get nearly empty can be bad for your car – and your wallet. Filling up more frequently and giving yourself plenty of time makes it easier to scout out the best price.
If you wait until the last minute to fill up, you may have no choice where you get gas. Thinking ahead can save you a lot of money over the course of a year.
6 – Maintain Your Car
Simple things like checking the air filter in your car and changing it when it becomes clogged and dirty can improve your mileage and make your car run better. You do not need to be a mechanic to change the filter; all you need to do is open a compartment, take out the filter and check its condition.
When you do take your car to the mechanic, ask the shop to check the spark plugs and change them if they are worn. Bad spark plugs can reduce your mileage and make your car run unevenly.