More gas for less cash: Part II

Paying at the pump isn't so bad when gas prices are on the lower end, but that may not make a difference in regard to how often you fill up.

There are various reasons why you could need to head to the gas station multiple times each week. If you have an inefficient car, your vehicle will quickly burn through gas. Long commutes can also increase the frequency of your refueling stops.

In addition to gas rewards credit cards and discounted fuel cards, you can spend less money from your checking account at the pump by changing your driving habits. You may be able to reduce your number of weekly refueling stops if you follow these tips:

  • Don't overload your vehicle. When cars take on a lot of excess weight, they have to work harder to get rolling. As such, there's more strain on the engine, which means gas burns faster. Your car shouldn't act as a second home, so don't pack it full of your possessions. Unless you're going on vacation, moving or shopping, only keep the essentials - road flares, tire-change supplies, spare tire and other emergency items - in your vehicle.
  • Observe the speed limit. It can be tempting to speed if you're late for work or simply because the road is empty. Not only is this practice illegal and a safety risk, but it also reduces fuel efficiency. Obey all posted speed limits to save gas and drive safely and legally.
  • Don't idle for too long. Whether you're waiting to pick someone up or warming your car in winter, don't leave it running at a standstill. If you're not moving for some time, be sure to turn your engine off.
  • Use cruise control. This car feature is more than a way to relax your leg while you're driving for long distances. Cruise control allows you to maintain a constant speed, which in turn improves fuel efficiency. You can also use your overdrive gears that reduce your engine speed.
  • Avoid traffic jams. This goes along with the point about idling. When possible, plan your routes so you don't have to waste gas by standing in traffic.
  • Ensure your tires are properly inflated. Underinflated tires harm your car's fuel economy because they increase the amount of drag. Check your vehicle's manual for the proper tire pressure.

For more information about smart ways to manage your finances, contact Landmark Bank.

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