How to Save Money on Gas

How to Save Money on Gas

With gasoline and home heating oil prices surging since the Russian invasion of Ukraine, consumers are looking for ways to cut their gas bills.

Crude oil prices have risen to their highest level since 2014 amid the war in Ukraine, which began in February 2022 — and has no clear path for a ceasefire in sight. Gasoline and heating oil are some of the petroleum products derived from crude oil, so higher gasoline and heating oil prices may be around for some time.

Fortunately, motorists and homeowners can save money on gas by embracing energy-efficient practices. Here are some of the easiest ways to reduce the pain both at the pump and when paying for heating costs.

15 Ways to Pay Less for Gas for Your Car and Home

Here are 15 ways you can pay less on fuel for your car and home heating system:

1. Follow the Speed Limit

Following the speed limit can help you save money on gas. In general, gas mileage decreases rapidly as you accelerate above 50 mph. Driving 55 mph rather than 65 mph can improve your gas mileage by 15%, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

2. Avoid Aggressive Driving

Aggressive driving, including speeding and rapid acceleration, can lower your gas mileage by 33% on the highway and by 5% on city roadways. Motorists who avoid aggressive driving can realize cost-savings by burning less fuel on roads and highways.

3. Remove Unnecessary Weight

Removing unnecessary weight from your vehicle can save money on gas. Storing an extra 100 pounds in your vehicle could reduce your miles per gallon by up to 2%, according to the U.S. Department of Energy.

4. Use Cruise Control on Highways

Using cruise control on highways can help you save up to 14% on gas by maintaining a continuous speed. Constantly accelerating and decelerating burns more fuel, which gives you less bang for your buck on the road.

5. Keep Tires Properly Inflated

Keeping your tires properly inflated can improve your gas mileage by 3%. Conversely, driving with underinflated tires can decrease your gas mileage by 0.3% for each unit drop in pounds per square inch (psi) of air pressure.

6. Stick With Regular Gasoline

Gasoline prices vary by their octane level, with regular being the cheapest and premium being the most expensive. Unless your car requires premium fuel, you can save money by sticking with unleaded regular gasoline as opposed to choosing midgrade or premium alternatives.

President Joe Biden has predicted gas prices will go up further as a result of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The potential for crude oil prices to continue rising may motivate some observers to invest in energy stocks. Others may see this as an ideal time to invest in utilities.

7. Don’t Idle When Parked

Allowing your car engine to run idle while parked is wasteful. Idling can consume up to half a gallon of fuel per hour, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. You can save gas money by turning off your car when it’s parked.

8. Search Online for Cheapest Fuel Stations

Some gas stations may offer cheaper fuel than other gas stations in your geographic area. You can search online for the cheapest gas stations in your area. Websites or apps like GasBuddy can help you find the lowest gas prices in your city or town.

9. Reduce Aerodynamic Drag

Your vehicle has to overcome wind resistance or aerodynamic drag whenever you drive it in the open. Reducing aerodynamic drag can save money on gas, and motorists can reduce aerodynamic drag by driving with the windows closed.

10. Minimize A/C Usage

Minimizing your vehicle’s air conditioner usage can save gas money. Using the air conditioner in some cases can reduce your vehicle’s fuel economy by more than 25%, which is akin to paying more at the pump over time, according to the EPA and U.S. Department of Energy.

11. Clean or Replace Air Filter as Necessary

Cleaning or replacing your vehicle’s air filter as necessary can save gas money, particularly if you’re driving an older vehicle manufactured before 1980. Older vehicles may feature a carbureted engine that becomes less fuel efficient when operating with a clogged air filter, according to the U.S. Department of Energy.

12. Get Engine Tune-Ups as Needed

Getting engine tune-ups as needed can improve gas mileage by an average of 4%, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. An engine tune-up is a comprehensive inspection that determines whether any components of the engine need to be replaced.

13. Consider New Vehicle Options

You can consider buying a new or used vehicle with better gas mileage to save money on gas. Consumers can also consider buying all-electric vehicles to move away from gasoline and diesel fuel entirely.

14. Insulate Your Home

Homeowners can save up to 15% on heating and cooling costs by air sealing their homes and adding insulation in attics and other areas of the home, according to the EPA. This could be a worthwhile investment considering how the Ukraine invasion may affect oil, gas, and clean energy investments.

15. Lower Your Thermostat

Homeowners can save money on their home heating bills by setting their thermostats to 68 degrees Fahrenheit. The Delaware Public Service Commission says you can save 5% on your home heating costs for every degree you lower your thermostat below 70.

Considering the global economy and looking at oil and natural gas to understand Russia-Ukraine, homeowners in the New England and Mid-Atlantic states may consider thermostat adjustments as a cost-saving measure.

The Takeaway

The price of gasoline and heating oil may stay at its high level – or even rise as the conflict in Eastern Europe continues. Feeling the pinch in their wallets, consumers may want to try changing their habits and practices to be more energy efficient.

Another simple way to save money on gas is to pay for it using a credit card that offers cash back. [cc_three_percent]


Photo credit: iStock/ADragan

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1See Rewards Details at SoFi.com/card/rewards.

SoFi cardholders earn 2% unlimited cash back rewards when redeemed to save, invest, a statement credit, or pay down eligible SoFi debt.

Financial Tips & Strategies: The tips provided on this website are of a general nature and do not take into account your specific objectives, financial situation, and needs. You should always consider their appropriateness given your own circumstances.

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