Personal Finance

How to Squeeze the Most Out of Every Drop of Gas

Woman refueling her car at a gas station.

Image source: Getty Images

Every penny counts these days.


Key points

  • Gas prices are at an all-time high, resulting in the average American paying $1,000 more at the pump this year.
  • By driving sensibly, removing excess weight in your car, and keeping your car in shape, you can reduce the amount of gas you use by up to 75%.

The price of gas just hit a new milestone: the average price per gallon is above $4 in every state for the first time. According to AAA, the average price has hit $4.59, a new record and up over 50% from a year ago.

Residents in California face the highest prices, with gas reaching $6.07 per gallon. The average American is paying almost $1,000 more for gas this year. By following these gas mileage tips, you can reduce the amount of gas you use by 25% to 75%, saving your hard-earned money at the pump.

Avoid aggressive driving

Speeding, rapidly accelerating, and braking can lower your gas mileage by 15% to 30% at highway speeds. Aggressive driving in stop-and-go traffic is even worse, costing you 10% to 40% in gas mileage. Driving sensibly will help you save at the pump and is safer for you and others on the road.

Fuel Economy: 10% – 40%

Gas Savings: $0.46 – $1.84

Avoid speeding

Gas mileage typically decreases significantly above 50 mph. Studies show that every 5 mph you drive over 50 mph is like paying an extra $0.31 per gallon. By driving 5 to 10 mph slower, you can lower your gas mileage 7% to 14%.

Fuel Economy: 7% – 14%

Gas Savings: $0.32 – $0.64

For every extra 100 pounds in your car, it reduces your gas mileage by 1%. Hauling cargo on your roof not only adds extra weight, but it adds to your aerodynamic drag. A large cargo box can reduce your fuel economy by 10% to 25% when driving over 65 mph, 6% to 17% when driving on the highway, and 2% to 8% in the city. When driving, remove the cargo box and remove excess weight.

Fuel Economy: 2% – 17%

Gas Savings: $0.09 – $0.78

Keep your vehicle in shape

Keeping your engine properly tuned can improve your gas mileage by 4%. Under-inflated tires can lower your fuel economy by about 0.2% for every 1 psi drop. By keeping your tires properly inflated, you can increase your gas mileage by 0.6%.

Fuel Economy: 0.6% – 4.6%

Gas Savings: $0.03 – $0.21

Total savings

By following these tips, you can increase your gas mileage anywhere from 19.6% to 75.6%. This combination could result in savings of $0.90 up to $3.47 in equivalent gas savings per gallon. This could amount to savings ranging from $540 to $2,000 a year.

Other tips to save on gas include choosing more efficient vehicles and combining errands into one trip. Fuel economy is worse with a cold engine than a warm one. Several short trips taken from a cold start can use two times more fuel than a longer, multipurpose trip covering the same distance. These tips can not only help you save money in today’s high gas price environment but can also help you save for the long term.

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