Whether you’re planning a road trip this summer or just want to cut down on summer traveling expenses, follow these eleven strategies to help save money any day of the week:
1. Plan ahead.
Map out your routes for the most efficient trip and use of gas. Smartphone apps like Waze provide real-time data that take accidents, road closures or other travel delays into account. They can provide alternative routes when necessary so you aren’t wasting gas idling.
2. Hit the Cruise.
According to fueleconomy.gov, aggressive driving can lower your gas mileage by 33% on the highway and 5% around town. Avoiding sudden accelerating and dramatic braking by using the cruise control will likely save around $.71 a gallon.
3. Find the cheapest Gas.
Take advantage of fuel cost calculator mobile apps such as GasBuddy that will help you determine the cost of your trip based on average regional gas prices and the details of your trip, including starting city, destination and your vehicle’s make, year and model. Once you’re on the road, use mobile apps that identify the nearest gas station with the lowest price per gallon.
4. Public Transit
Most cities have a transportation system ready for you to utilize. Take the time to find out if it’s in your best interest to take advantage of it. Vacationing in a big city? CityMapper is a great transit app for figuring out subways. Or just want to get around town this weekend? Not only could taking the metro save you from driving downtown, but you’ll also have extra cash from not having to pay for parking. That could save you $10-20 next time you’re headed to a game or concert. Don’t forget the meters are free after 7pm now.
5. Cool off wisely
Rolling down windows rather than using air conditioning can increase fuel economy at slower speeds. However at faster highway speeds, open windows can actually increase drag and hurt fuel economy. At the very least, minimize air conditioning use by parking in the shade or driving at cooler parts of the day to save just a little more on gas expenses.
6. Stick to your maintenance schedule
Taking your car in for maintenance checks is essential for engine performance but can also help you save on gas in the long run. If your tires are deflated or don’t have tread, you may be spending more on gas than necessary. The maintenance check might include replacing air filters, topping off coolant and getting an oil change, all of which are essential for improving gas mileage.
7. Utilize warehouse club memberships
If you have a membership, think about making it a habit to fill up at the club’s gas station, which statically is .2-.4 cents per gallon cheaper. Those pennies can add up in the long run, especially if you plan on driving a lot this summer.
8. Use a rewards credit card
You’re going to buy gas. It’s a no-brainer. So why not get something out of it. If you’re able to pay your credit card bill on time every month, a credit card that offers rewards at the pump is a good tool to help you save. And those points earned could potentially fund your next vacation.
9. Pack a cooler
Pit stops are a must, but don’t get sucked into the convenience store snack trap. Save money by packing the essentials in a cooler like sandwiches, crackers, fruit and veggies. Bring reusable water bottles and fill them up when you stop.
10. Pack Light
For every 100 pounds of luggage, your car’s fuel efficiency reduces by 1 to 2 percent. You’ll save 63 cents per gallon by packing lighter, according to the Department of Energy.
11. Avoid peak travel times
Just because your family is on vacation doesn’t mean the world has stopped working. Traveling on off-peak days can prevent you hitting congested highways during rush hour. Don’t lose your well-earned time off sitting in traffic!
When it comes to fluctuating fuel costs and the extra mileage you drive during the summer, sometimes the simplest things can make a difference. Even saving just a few gallons every week can add up to substantial savings. Fuel up and happy summer travels!