Thursday, March 27, 2008

Tips for Saving $500 on Gas

Although I have a short commute, the rising cost of gas still hurts. A recent post at Blunt Money pointed me indirectly to an article at on saving gas from a couple of years ago that tested six tips for saving gas to see if they really worked.

The tips were:

  1. Driving less aggressively
  2. Driving slower
  3. Using cruise control
  4. Driving with the windows up and AC on
  5. Checking tire pressure
  6. Avoiding excessive idling

The biggest savings came from driving less aggressively (not speeding up quickly and braking hard). They measured an average savings of 31%. I know that I have room to improve in this area and figure that at an average of 12,000 miles/yr on my 2001 Camry, if I got 31% better gas mileage, I'd save over $500 a year. I'm currently getting about 21-22 miles/gallon with my current driving habits, so I'm going to apply these tips and see if I can really get much better mileage over the next couple of weeks. I'll report the results back here.

Given my short commute, I don't have a chance to drive at highway speeds much, but for those of you who have longer highway commutes, Edmunds reported a 7% savings from using cruise control and a 12% savings from driving 65mph instead of 75mph.

Another tip that they didn't examine is keeping your car tuned up. I didn't think much of that until I recently had my spark plugs changed and got almost 10% better mileage. Even that 10% improvement saves me more than $150/yr.

Just remember, you're not really saving $500 a year if you end up spending that savings on something else.