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Be Wise With Money

Fuel for Thought

Seven gas-saving tips before you hit the road this summer

man and woman driving in a car

If you’re planning to take a road trip this summer, you’re not alone. Road trips are a classic American pastime. Their ability to provide adventure, exploration and a leisurely stroll through the countryside makes them an appealing and economical choice for travelers. 

However, the great American road trip could cost more than necessary if you’re not prepared. Even though gas prices are markedly lower compared to a few years ago, developing cost-saving habits will help keep your budget right where it needs to be. Here are some simple tips to help you save money and even improve gas mileage when you hit the road this summer:

  • Find cheap gas. Free apps such as GasBuddy or Gas Guru can help motorists save money at the pump by directing them to gas stations with the cheapest fuel prices.
  • Use the right octane level. Check your owner’s manual to determine the right octane level for your car, and don’t exceed it. The higher the octane level, the higher the gas price. (Note: All gas pumps must post the octane rating on them under the FTC's Fuel Rating Rule.)
  • Maintain proper tire pressure. According to AAA, only 17% of cars have all four tires properly inflated. For longer trips, inflate your tires on the higher end of the manufactures suggested psi. While it may be a little stiffer ride, less tread on the road leads to fuel savings for you.
  • Choose to cruise. Use cruise control on the highway to help maintain a constant speed and reduce fuel consumption.
  • Avoid items on top. A loaded roof rack or carrier creates wind resistance and drag which can decrease fuel economy by 5%.1
  • Higher speed, greater gas use. Although every vehicle reaches its optimal fuel economy at different speeds, gas mileage usually decreases rapidly when you hit 50 mph. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, each 5 mph you drive over 50 mph is like paying an additional $0.17 per gallon for gas. 1
  • More ideas. Visit the U.S. Department of Energy to find fuel economy tips ranging from getting the best mileage to vehicle shopping comparisons that put money in your pocket.


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