There has been a nationwide increase in the price of gas over the last month and if you live in Minnesota or the Dakotas it has skyrocketed. Having the price of gas jump more than $1 a gallon over a month is a big hit to the pocketbook and family budget…not to mention the crimp it puts on summer vacation plans. Well, I have some good news: There are some things that you can do to make every gallon and every penny count.
If there is someone that you have a similar schedule with and could make carpooling work, it is a great way to save money and reduce the number of miles you put on your car. This doesn’t only apply to work and school; it can be handy for kid’s activities, shopping, and errands. Not only are you saving money for you and a friend, but it’s a great way to get some social time into your busy schedule.
Make a plan
Be as efficient as you can every time you leave the house. Make your stops on the way to and from where you need to be. You might find that this not only saves you money, but also saves you time.
You can drive 55
If you are a child of the 80’s like myself, you will remember the song “I can’t Drive 55” (go ahead and youtube the video…it is just as awesome as you remember it). This blast from the past will help you to remember that keeping your car between 55 and 65 mph, will give you better fuel efficiency. Increasing your speed to 75mph can cut your efficiency by 20%. Only driving 55 may not make you as cool as Sammy Hagar, but if you are like me, you own a minivan and rock out to Kidz Bop… I clearly lost that battle some time ago. So why not slow down and enjoy the extra bang for your buck?
Gas cap check
We can all think of time when we have seen someone driving with their gas cap open or dangling from that little cord. This isn’t just embarrassing, it is costly. According to the Car Care Council, 147 million gallons of gas evaporate each year from lost or broken gas caps. At current gas prices ($3.75 avg/gallon in MN)that’s $551,250,000 a year that disappears into thin air. That isn’t good for you or the air, so check your cap.
Keep the pressure on
According to Fuel Economy.gov, making sure that your tires have the recommended amount of air pressure will improve your gas mileage by 3%. So make it a habit to check your air pressure every time you fill up. It will be a nice distraction from watching your total on the pump climb.
Tuning up your engine can improve your mileage by 4%, which based on today’s prices is about 18 cents per gallon. If you have been neglecting some issues with your car, it pays to take it in. Fixing a major maintenance issue with your car can improve your gas mileage by as much as 40%! So that tricky start or funny sound that gives your car “character” might be costing you at the pump.
Check your levels
Believe it or not, how much gas you have in the tank can have an impact on your efficiency. If you have less than 1/3 of a tank it can cause air to get into the gas line and without a consistent flow of fuel your engine won’t run as efficiently. This is one practice I am committed to, not because I knew about the efficiency factor but because my aforementioned minivan has a very unreliable gas gauge, making anything below a ½ tank a gamble.
These are fairly simple ways to help you make the most of your gas mileage. And every little bit counts when it comes your family budget. For more budget help tips, check out “DIY Gifts: How to save while giving” or “4 Simple Ways to Save Money”.
Want even more tips? Call LSS Financial Counseling at 888.577.2227 to schedule an appointment. Our Financial Counselors will provide you with tangible steps to achieve your financial goals and conquer your debt. So don’t wait – take action today!
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Author Ashley Hagelin is a Certified Financial Counselor with LSS and she specializes in Reverse Mortgage Counseling.