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In Touch With 21st - January 2014

Drive Smart: How to Save on Gas


Drive Smart: How to Save on Gas by changing driving habits

Whether driving across town or across the state, who doesn’t want to save money on gas? Regardless of the make or model, your vehicle’s estimated gas mileage is just an estimate: you can help determine how much you spend on fuel by how you drive and maintain your car. Read on to see how you can save by reducing the amount you spend on gas each month.

The basics

First, pay attention to the way you drive. Is it mostly fast starts and abrupt stops? Accelerating up to a stop sign or red light? Riding the brakes in traffic? All of these things reduce your car’s fuel efficiency. Making a few small adjustments in the way you drive can add up to considerable fuel savings. Bad driving habits can also include making multiple trips when a single one will do. So, throughout the day try to combine errands when possible, such as stopping at the post office on your way in to the office or including a trip to the grocery store on the way home. Also, note that most vehicles today are designed to achieve optimal fuel economy at around 55mph, something to consider when driving on the highway.

Carpool

There is an easy way you can cut your gas bills in half. Yes, you read that correctly. If you share your trip to work with another person and split the bill, you just reduced your fuel costs by half. That’s like paying $1.75 for gas that costs $3.50 a gallon. And, if you carpool with 4 people, the cost per gallon is just about $0.80. You can see how this can quickly add up. To get started with carpooling, companies such as eRideShare and Carpool World help like-minded commuters find each other.

Take advantage of available discounts

Many gas stations have coupons available for discounts on gas purchases. These coupons can be found on the back of grocery store receipts as print or Internet coupons. Shopping around for cheaper gas can help too: check out the 21st Century app to see how you can save. Also, consider paying with a credit card that offers cash back for gas purchases. Some offer two to five percent rebates, but read the fine print, as fees, charges, interest rates, and benefits can vary among credit card issuers.

Some additional fuel saving tips:

• Keep your tires inflated to recommended levels, and have them aligned as well. Poor alignment causes tires to wear out quicker and forces your engine to work harder. Doing these two things can save you up to 10 percent.

• Nearly one in four cars needs an air filter replacement. A clean air filter can improve gas mileage by as much as 10 percent.

• Get your vehicle’s engine tuned up: A properly maintained engine can improve mileage by up to four percent.

One last tip

Be wary of products that promise to improve gas mileage. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) tested gas-saving devices such as fuel enhancers and found very few provided any fuel economy benefits and, in fact, may be harmful to your vehicle’s engine or cause a substantial increase in exhaust emissions. Note that at this time no gas-saving product for vehicles has been endorsed by a government agency. If a product claims it has been evaluated by EPA, ask for a copy of the EPA report, or check epa.gov for information.

Changing bad driving habits, carpooling and scheduling regular vehicle maintenance lessens the pollution your car creates and will help you save on fuel costs. Combine these with watching your speed and using proper tire pressure and you can realize some noticeable savings at the pump.

Please note: This information is of a general nature for educational purposes only. It must not be taken as advice and does not signify an endorsement. 21st Century Insurance is not responsible for any injuries or loss incurred.

Sources: gasbuddy.com; consumer.ftc.gov; epa.gov; thedailygreen.com

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