The Car Book Blog: Saving Money at the Gas Pump

The Center for Auto Safety is the nation’s premier independent, member driven, non-profit consumer advocacy organization dedicated to improving vehicle safety, quality, and fuel economy on behalf of all drivers, passengers, and pedestrians.

With the release of the 39th edition of The Car Booknow available online—we’re sharing some of our best tips for car buying and maintaining your vehicle after you buy. The Car Book 2019 provides today’s car buyer with in-depth ratings of the 2019 vehicles, The Car Book’s unique crash test ratings, comparative complaint ratings, and all of the information needed to make a smart, safe and informed vehicle purchase. For online users only, the site also includes over 1,000 used car ratings going back five years.

In this edition of The Car Book Blog, we’re sharing twelve of the best ways to save money at the gas pump. Please note that specific savings are based on a price of $2.45/gallon.

Twelve Ways to Save Money at the Pump
Here are a few simple things you can do that will save you a lot of money.
#1 Pump ‘Em Up

  • 27% of vehicles have tires that are underinflated. Properly inflated tires can improve mileage by 3%, which is like getting 7 cents off a gallon of gas. Check the label on your door or glove box to find out what the pressure range should be for your tires. Don’t use the “max pressure” written on your tire. Electronic gauges are fast, easy to use and accurate. Don’t rely on the numbers on the air pump. The good news–all new cars must have a low tire pressure warning on the dash.

#2 Check Your Air Filter

  • A dirty air filter by itself can rob a car by as much as 10% percent of its mileage. If an engine doesn’t get enough air, it will burn too much gasoline. Replacing a dirty filter can in effect knock up to 25 cents off a gallon of gas.

#3 Straighten Out 

  • Not only does poor wheel alignment cause your tires to wear out faster and cause poor handling, but it can cause your engine to work harder and reduce your fuel efficiency by 10%.

#4 Be a Regular

  • Check your owner’s manual. Very, very few cars actually need high-octane gas. Using 87-octane (regular) gas can save you over 28 cents per gallon over mid-grade and 52 cents over premium.

#5 Tune Up

  • A properly tuned engine is a fuel saver. Have a trusted mechanic tune your engine to factory specifications and you could save up to 8 cents a gallon. 

#6 Check Your Cap 

  • Experts guess that close to 15% of the cars on the road have broken or missing gasoline caps. This hurts your mileage and can harm the environment by allowing your gasoline to evaporate. Many Ford products have a capless gas filler, which is a great convenience.

#7 Don’t Speed

  • A car moving at 55 mph gets better fuel economy than the same car at 65 mph. For every 5 mph you reduce your highway speed, you can reduce fuel consumption by 7%, which is like getting 17 cents off a gallon of gas.

 #8 Don’t Idle

  • An idling car gets 0 mpg. Cars with larger engines typically waste more gas at idle than cars with smaller engines. If you’re stopped for more than a minute, consider turning your engine off. Some new cars do that automatically.

#9 Drive Smoother 

  • If you speed up and slow down smoothly, your gas mileage will benefit. A smooth foot can save 38 cents a gallon.

#10 Combo Trips

  • Short trips can be expensive because they usually involve a “cold” vehicle. For the first mile or two before the engine gets warmed up, a cold vehicle only gets 30 to 40% of the mileage it gets at full efficiency. Combine your trips.

#11 Lose Weight

  • For every 100 pounds you carry around, you lose 1 to 2% in fuel efficiency. Remove extra items from your trunk or the rear of your SUV. Empty your roof rack—50% of engine power, traveling at highway speed, is used in overcoming aerodynamic drag or wind resistance

#12 Choose Your Gas Miser

  • If you own more than one vehicle, choosing to drive the one with better gas mileage will save you money. If you drive 15,000 miles per year, half in a vehicle with 20 mpg and half with a 30 mpg vehicle and switch to driving 75% of your trips in the 30 mpg vehicle, you will save $153 annually with gas at $2.45.

If you haven’t already, be sure to join the Center for Auto Safety to get a full year’s access to or get your paper copy of The Car Book 2019. Come back to The Car Book Blog soon for even more insightful car buying information.
PLUS: Our partners at the Safe Climate Campaign advocate for strong, green measures that improve fuel efficiency and save you money at the gas pump. Be sure to check out their latest work here.

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