Road trips are the ideal vacation. You get to see and experience different parts of your state or country while enjoying the convenience of driving your own vehicle. And when you’re planning a road trip, you’ve got to plan for fuel costs too.
No matter what you’re driving on your road trip, you don’t want to spend more than necessary on gasoline. And thankfully, you don’t have to! In this article, we’ve got a few tips that help you maximize your fuel economy and save money on gas for your road trip—no matter how far you’re traveling. Check out our five money-saving tips below.
Check Your Tire Pressure
Incorrect or uneven tire pressure is a leading culprit of fuel inefficiency. If you’re planning a road trip, you’ll want to ensure your tire pressure is to the correct PSI (pounds per square inch) before you begin.
Your tire pressure can change for a number of reasons. Cold weather often causes your tires to leech air, lowering the pressure. Your tire might have a leak. Or it might be the simple fact that tires typically lose one PSI every month.
Most cars have a pressure warning light that alerts you to low tire pressure, but before you embark on a road trip, you should manually check your tire pressure just to be sure. Fill your tires to your car’s specific PSI requirements, and then you’re ready to hit the open road.
The greater your PSI deficit, the lower your fuel efficiency. By inflating your tires to the correct PSI, you’ll enjoy greater fuel economy and extend the life of your tires.
Practice Proper Car Maintenance
You know regular car maintenance keeps your vehicle running and extends its lifespan. But did you also know that proper car maintenance boosts your gas mileage? Making repairs can improve your MPG (miles per gallon) by around four percent. And if your vehicle needs more serious work done, like replacing the oxygen sensor, you can improve your mileage by up to 40 percent!
While you should have your car looked over by your mechanic annually, you should also take special care to make repairs before any road trip. This will ensure your car is fit to cover all those miles and that you won’t need to call for backup while you’re on the road.
Compare Gas Prices with GasBuddy
Before you roll out of town, compare the gas prices from your local stations. There’s no easier or faster way to do this than with GasBuddy. GasBuddy is an app that gives you gas rates based on your location. It shows you where to find the cheapest fuel closest to you.
The real time updates offered by GasBuddy make planning gas purchases simple. Even cents on the gallon add up over hundreds or even thousands of miles.
In addition to utilizing helpful tools like GasBuddy, you’ll find better gas prices by choosing strategic locations for your fill ups. When taking a pit stop, choose exits that have multiple gas stations to choose from. The built-in competition ensures you won’t overpay for fuel.
Drive Smart and Safe
When you’re road tripping, you and everyone else in the car will enjoy a better experience if you practice safe and smart driving. Not only will careful driving prevent any unnecessary accidents on your part, but smart, safe driving helps you save money on gas.
Aggressive driving like speeding, quick acceleration, and sudden braking needlessly waste gas. This type of driving can lower your fuel efficiency up to 30 percent on the highway and even up to 40 percent in city miles. Over time, that adds up.
Consider a cross-country road trip. You’re traveling thousands of miles over many days. In that time, an assertive yet conservative driving approach can save you a ton of money. Smooth driving makes for better fuel efficiency. Using your cruise control on highways and interstates keeps your car at a consistent speed and helps prevent surging and speeding, saving you gas.
Plus, safe, smart drivers help everyone in the vehicle—and in adjacent vehicles—have a better experience on the road. A driver who brakes at a reasonable speed and who follows speed limits reduces everyone’s stress level, making for a much more enjoyable road trip!
When you’re taking a road trip, you’ve likely got a mile-long list of must-haves and things you can’t forget. But bringing your dumb bells on vacation is a bad idea if you’re trying to save gas on your road trip.
An extra 100 pounds in your car can reduce your MPG by 1% or $0.03 per gallon. When considering what to bring on your road trip, you don’t have to pack like a minimalist, but to optimize your fuel economy, you should bring only what you need.
The extra weight of your luggage isn’t the only thing that will slow you down when you overpack. Many times, you’ll see cars flying down the interstate with cargo haulers attached to their roofs. While these rooftop boxes provide extra storage, they can also take a toll on your gas bill.
If you’re going over 65 mph, a cargo box can reduce your fuel economy by up to 25 percent. That’s up to $0.51 per gallon! If you can’t fit all your belongings inside your car, opt for a rear-mount cargo box or tray. These don’t increase your car’s drag and only barely increase fuel consumption—just one to five percent on the highway. That’s a huge difference from their rooftop counterparts. Smart and strategic packing will help you reduce your gas bill on your road trip.
Road trips require considerable preparation and planning. And when it comes to budgeting for gas, you want to do everything you can to keep this cost as low as possible. We hope our money-saving tips help you enjoy the road trip of your dreams and save you money on fuel along the way!
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