Although fuel prices have recently been declining in New Hampshire, they have actually been on the rise from a yearly standpoint. In fact, the national average price for a regular gallon of gas spiked from $2.78 in 2010 to where it stands now at approximately $3.529, leaving many Americans worrying about prices reaching as much as $5.00 per gallon in 2012.
Considering the unpredictable nature of fuel prices, itís never a bad time to start thinking about ways to save money on gas. Use the following tips to get the most for your pennies at the pump:
1. Take advantage of other forms of transportation. Think about your daily activities. Do you drive to the store when you could just as easily walk? Do you drive your kids to the park when the family could bike there together instead? Brainstorming ways to replace driving with other forms of transportation will result in instant savings.
2. Avoid idling. While it may seem beneficial to warm up your car, especially when the winter weather approaches, idling for one minute consumes the same amount of gas used to start your engine. In terms of ways to save money on gas, itís best to turn off the engine if you anticipate a wait longer than 30 to 45 seconds.
3. Lighten your load. Although your trunk may provide useful storage space, itís easy to forget that extra weight decreases gas mileage. Check to see if you can shed some pounds in the trunk of your car to save money on gas.
4. Combine errands into one trip. Planning out your errands in advance will help you avoid driving all over town. Review your destinations and park in a central spot that allows you to walk, instead of drive, between locations.
5. Keep track of tire tune-ups. Itís important to keep your tires properly inflated and aligned at all times. Be sure to schedule regular tune-ups and maintenance checks with your auto repair shop to stay on track.
6. Change your oil every 5,000 miles. While some experts recommend changing your oil every 3,000 miles, others say that oil changes at every 7,500 miles will suffice. Regardless of which number you go by, itís important to ensure that you change the oil in your car regularly. Also, be sure that the proper grade of oil is being used, as the wrong grade may increase the friction on your engine, using more gas.
7. Avoid high speeds. Weíre all in a rush at times, but remembering to slow down can help you save money on gas. By driving at a speed of 55 mph instead of 65 mph, you can improve your gas mileage by about 20 percent.
8. Accelerate slowly when starting from a complete stop. Anticipate stops to avoid sudden braking, as stop-and-go traffic isnít very fuel-efficient.
9. Remove snow tires immediately after winter weather passes. You may opt for snow tires as another New Hampshire winter approaches, but be sure to remove them once the snowy weather passes, since the deep tire tread increases friction, consuming more gas.
10. Check and replace air filters regularly. You may not realize that replacing clogged filters can actually improve your gas mileage by 10 percent.
Regardless of the type of car you drive, there are countless ways to save money on gas. For a car you currently drive, itís likely that it only requires regular gas, as the Federal Trade Commission confirms that using a higher octane offers you no benefit, although itís always best to consult your ownerís manual. And if youíre planning to purchase a new car, you're in the best position to save money on gas. The U.S. Department of Energyís website and free annual Fuel Economy Guide, which is issued at all auto dealerships, are two resources that compare gas mileage of similar car models, allowing you to find the most fuel-efficient model for your needs.
While all of these tips can help you save money on gas, we can also help you save money on another car-related expense Ė your auto insurance. Eaton & Berube offers the best customized New Hampshire auto insurance rates for your specific needs. To request a free car insurance quote, please call us at 800-660-5362 or submit our Online Insurance Quote Request Form.
Photo courtesy of Elvis Santana