Even though the U.S. economy is looking up, uncertainly in the oil market is causing barrel price to rise above the $100 mark. That means higher costs at the fuel pumps. According to AAA’s Fuel Gauge Survey,the national average price of self-serve regular gas increased by 25 cents per gallon in the first half of March. And it looks like prices are strong-arming their way towards the $4 mark nearly reached in 2008.
There are ways you can loosen the grip of high fuel prices.
Start by evaluating the octane level you are using in your vehicle. If you are opting for a higher grade to improve performance, check your owner’s manual. Often, using a higher octane than recommended adds no benefit.
Too much junk in the truck can hurt your wallet. Studies have shown that hauling around an extra 100 pounds can decrease fuel mileage by as much as two percent. Keep the golf clubs, toys, business papers and expansive CD collection in the garage.
Regular maintenance is another easy way to save fuel. The investment in clean oil, debris-free filters, properly inflated tires and leak-free hoses and connectors can save hundreds of dollars each year. And you don’t have to take your car to a dealer or use expensive original equipment parts. Aftermarket parts are consumer-friendly, safe and a much better value for maintenance and repair.
Inefficient driving habits cost money and can be dangerous. Jack-rabbit starts and aggressive acceleration to pass may feel like you are getting to your destination a little faster, but you are wasting money and potentially putting others in danger. The same for driving over the speed limit. Once you are cruising over 60mph, you start decreasing your fuel mileage by 5 percent.
With warm weather approaching, you may think rolling down your windows will bring up your savings. Around town you may save your compressor a little work, but at speeds nearing 50 and above, the aerodynamics of closed windows will save fuel.
To find low gas prices in your area, try cruising the web before you cruise around town looking for the lowest cost. AAA has a low price finder for some areas of the country; there is also Mapquest Gas Finder and the U.S. Department of Energy which offer resources. Smart phone users can download apps that will direct them to the best prices.