While gas prices impact everyone, it becomes particularly important when traveling is a regular part of your job. Professionals who make their living on the road need an urgent fuel saving solution.
In this blog, we are sharing top tips that will help you save money at the pump. From optimizing your routes to maintaining your vehicle, you’ll certainly be able to seea BIG difference in your wallet after applying these tips!
In summer, the heat can be unbearable. But on average days, even at the highest speed, opening your windows damages your fuel consumption less than air conditioning. You might wonder how does air conditioning impact your gas consumption. The alternator, which is powered by the engine, is what gives the energy to the air conditioner device. The engine runs on fuel, which implies that you will use gas when you run the AC.
This is why, as another important factor to remember, we should try always to open the windows whenever possible, as it’s a most cost effective way to reduce the temperature inside the vehicle.
There are also alternatives, like looking for parking spots in the shade or using a windshield screen that can help you a lot and decrease your use of air conditioning.
No matter how much you optimize your routes, sometimes it’s inevitable to go through stops and starts. To reduce these, which can impact your daily costs more than you think, always remember to do it as smoothly as you can. The data supports this, as FuelEconomy.gov reports that these basic defensive driving practices can reduce fuel consumption by up to 40% in stop-and-go traffic and up to 30% on the highway.
Want a good tip to do this? Slow acceleration and coast cautiously until you reach the braking stop. There is no need to showcase the power of your car every time, and go from 0-60 after the light goes green.
We all have heard people have intense debates over this, but the truth is that, actually, fuel consumption tends to increase above 50 mph, as data shown by FuelEconomy.gov states. While it’s true that every vehicle is different, this is a common fact, so it’s always smart to assume that every increase of 5 mph over that threshold implies a surcharge, fluctuating taking the per-gallon price as a reference.
It’s obvious that driving 50 mph is not always realistic, so the best chance for highways is driving at the speed of traffic in the slowest lane, or following the specific limit.
Regardless of this, it makes sense to decrease your fuel waste by not going over the limit when there is no need. It is important to optimize your route to avoid going in a rush, so you can minimize the chances of this happening again. By using a route planner, like Badger Maps, you can create an optimized route ahead of time to ensure you are always on time.
Waiting while parked can be a waste sometimes, but not only of time. Don’t forget that an idling car’s fuel mileage is null. Turning off your car whenever possible makes more sense than we could think, as it also saves gas.
Understandably, idling is necessary in some situations, but there is no benefit, especially in these times, to let the car run for more than a minute if we are not moving. As a matter of fact, the old concept of warming up the vehicle as being mandatory in certain scenarios has been debunked, as those transports built after the 90’s don’t need it for the sake of the motor, as stated by Cars.com.
As a busy person, you probably don’t really think about this, as it’s not a priority in your day-to-day, but some extra weight can impact your gas consumption. Do you keep a lot of unnecessary stuff in the trunk? That might cost you money, so it might be worthwhile to double-check.
Finally, take some time to clean and prioritize your things, removing anything you don’t regularly use. As a rule of thumb: store what you need to keep, and leave out the rest.
In crowded cities, it can be a hassle to find parking spots, especially for sales reps that usually have to drive through the peak hours of traffic.
For example, U.S. motorists can spend, on average, 16 hours per year looking for a place to park their vehicle, and waste about $345 in fuel doing so, according to data from Inrix (though there is some debate about those numbers).
One solution is to settle for parking spaces that are somewhat far from their destination. However, this scenario is not always ideal or possible, as there are some districts with fewer parking spaces than cars, but nevertheless is a good tip to keep in mind as a way to improve your savings game.
Another tip is, instead of driving around the blocks, looking for the ideal spot, you could head to a less busy area, as long as you keep in mind to go with enough time to do some walking (which also has its health benefits).
Reducing driving time is the most efficient way to save money on gas. Optimizing your route is the first step to reducing driving time.
Trying to optimize a route for yourself comes with many hidden expenses. You spend hours of tedious work planning only to find out that the routes you’ve created aren’t the most efficient.
However, delegating the work to a route planner app, like Badger Maps, will allow you to create the optimal route in seconds.
While everyone can benefit from using a route planner for their daily activities, those who travel as a regular part of their job, like outside sales reps, will see a huge decrease in fuel consumption.
With Badger Maps, you can optimize routes with 100+ stops in seconds. Forget hours of planning, and drive 20% less each day.
People who use Badger Maps save an average of 8 hours per week on planning and driving.
Badger Maps lets you select the accounts you want to visit and automatically generates the fastest, most efficient route.
Once you’ve created a route, you’ll get turn-by-turn directions powered by Google Maps or Waze, guaranteeing you will never be late for an appointment.
If at any moment while on the road you need to add an extra appointment or make a quick stop for food or gas, you’re all covered. You can easily add or delete stops and the app will automatically re-optimize your route.
Use Apps to Find the Gas Stations with the Best Deals
Reducing gas consumption will certainly help you cut down your costs. However, for saving even more you can take things up a notch and ensure you are getting the best deals on fuel.
There are multiple apps and websites that can help you keep track of local gas stations prices so you can pay less on gas.
Geico has a gas price locator that shows you a list of gas stations near you after you select your address, city or ZIP code. You can select a searching distance from 5 miles to 25 miles. Geico provides a detailed list and map with regular, midgrade, premium, and diesel prices as well as directions to stations.
AAA mobile app (Android / iOS) lets users compare and get access to frequently updated gas prices.
Gas Guru (Android / iOS) shows gas prices with easy-to-read maps. You can filter your search by gas/fuel grade/amenities and view results by map or list view.
After you’ve found the best deals on gas, your next step should be to ensure you actually fill your tank at a low-priced gas station. A great practice is to plan to fill your tank ahead of time. If you wait until you are running out of gas to fill it up, you might end up paying more at the pump because you can’t make it to another station.
Once your tank is ¾ empty, you should search for a gas station with low-cost prices to guarantee you get a great deal. It’s very common to forget about this, especially when you are trying to keep up with your routine.
Luckily, you can rely on a route planner and simply add a gas stop to your itinerary. Using a route planner, like Badger Maps, also ensures you won’t go out of your way to get gas.
According to the US Department of Energy, properly inflated tires can boost your gas mileage by 3%. With the current gas prices at a record high, properly inflated tires could save you about 15 cents per gallon.
What is the recommended tire pressure? Each vehicle has their own comfort zone.
To be sure you’re improving your mileage by 0.6%- 3.0%, check out the recommended pressure in your owner’s manual, visit a dealer to verify, or check to see if the tire pressure information is written on the inside/bottom of your driver’s side door.
Don’t make the rookie mistake of waiting to check your tire pressure only when the indicator light turns on. Instead, check if your vehicle is up to speed every 2-4 weeks for optimal fuel saving. Purchasing a tire pressure gauge to monitor your vehicle's health will only cost about $10 to $20.
A bonus tip to help your tires perform at their maximum capacity is to monitor their wear and tear. When tires wear down to a depth of 1/16th of an inch, they should be replaced right away.
Did you know that premium gas doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the best for your vehicle?
The best fuel recommended for your vehicle is the one recommended by your manufacturer. If your vehicle is built for regular unleaded-- stick with the fuel that your car was made to handle for the best fuel efficiency.
According to Chemical & Engineering News, another way to increase your fuel efficiency by 3% is upgrading to a newer motor oil at your next visit. You can try the switch from 10W-40 oil to 0W-20 at your next visit for a bigger boost or stay with the motor oil blend recommended by your manufacturer for your average upkeep.
Depending on the age of your vehicle, you may not be notified as your gas cap seal weakens. Why is this important? Because this allows for oxygen to enter into the gas tank and burn more gas as you travel. If you drive an older model, you may only suspect that there is an issue after your mileage has already suffered.
On the bright side, gas caps are available for purchase for around $20 at major retailers. However, many gas cap sensors aren't capable of recognizing gas caps that are not made by the original manufacturer.
This means that you might need to make a trip to the dealership to avoid oxygen seeping into your gas tank. Although this is the best way to insure a quality fit, you should be prepared to pay around $90 to perfectly seal your tank according to Repair Pal.
This piece of advice is as “by the book” as it gets: follow your vehicle’s recommended maintenance schedule. Although it sounds very simple to do, there are a few things to look out for if you’re planning to save fuel.
Keeping your vehicle intact improves your fuel economy and reduces harmful emissions. By simply keeping your engine fine-tuned, you can improve your fuel economy by 4%.
Periodically changing air filters and spark plugs will allow your engine to perform at its best. Air filter replacements can be done as DIY projects that will cost no more than $40 on your own, according to Fixd. Spark plugs on the other hand are a bit more difficult to do on your own. For a professional replacement, expect to pay around $100 or more according to Kelley Blue Book.
And finally, be sure to keep an eye on the oxygen sensor in your vehicle- a faulty sensor can reduce fuel economy by close to 40%, according to FuelEconomy.gov.
Have you ever heard of hypermiling? If you’re keen on mastering the art of fuel saving in this economy, this is the term for you.
Hypermiling is the practice of maximizing fuel efficiency to the ultimate degree to save money on gas. This includes everything from carefully selecting your routes to minimize breaking, to lowering your vehicle's weight by keeping your trunk clean.
Hypermilers will surely use all the tips and tricks listed above to maximize their fuel savings. To go the extra mile, they might even select their parking spot based on the temperature to save pennies on AC and energy usage.
Pro hypermiling tip: When the temperatures are low, park facing towards the sun to conserve energy used to defrost your vehicle, and vice versa, park in the shade on a hot summer day to avoid blasting your AC.
Do you frequent the same gas stations on a regular basis? If so, let your money work for you.
Typically, major gas stations offer rewards programs and credit cards that will give you back a percentage of the money you’ve spent with them. If you open a card with a local station, be sure to keep track of the money you spend on that card and try to use it just for gas. This will help you keep your credit in check and get you the most for your money when it comes to fuel saving.
For example, when you reach 500 points– or 50 gallons of gas– Speedy Rewards offers you a $25 gift card. Assuming that gas prices are $5 a gallon, that's 10% back on your fuel spending.
Among other great rewards programs, Shell and BP claim you'll save at least 5 cents per gallon by teaming up with them. ExxonMobil claims that you’ll get at least 3 cents off per gallon. With all of these options, be sure to review each company’s terms closely to see exactly what percentage of your gas spending you'll be getting back.
Many supermarket chains also offer rewards programs for their customers: For example, if you spend $100 on groceries at Safeway or Kroger, you'll earn 10 cents off gasoline the next time you need to fill up. Check out your local grocery chains to see what rewards programs are available for you so you can start saving money on gas.
Club memberships at Costco, Sam’s Club, and Walmart offer their members discounted prices on gas. Walmart Plus memberships offer a 5 cent discount at the pump, and at all Sam’s club locations. Memberships cost $13 a month or $98 a year, while Sam's Club memberships range between $45 and $100 per year.
Costco fuel prices are traditionally 5 to 25 cents lower than the average fuel station, which makes them a popular choice. Along with their other membership advantages, you can enjoy these perks for $60 to $120 per year.
Warning: Due to the record-high fuel prices around the country, gas lines at Costco have become notably long.