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Saving Money on Gas

This photo is a close up of a service station attendant about to pump fuel into a car gas tank.

Slow down, burn less fuel, and always carry cash.

If you want to save money on gas next road trip, try these tips.

There are two main ways to save fuel. Either increase the efficiency of the vehicle, or reduce weight. The best economy is when you do both at the same time.

Remember to pack light. Every 100 pounds you add to your car, reduces its fuel efficiency by 2%. (A good reason to leave mother in law at home, or fido at the kennel.)

Avoid putting anything on top of your car. Things like luggage racks increase drag and reduce your fuel economy by up to 20%. (It’s also a target for theft, so you always have to park in well lit areas and keep an eye on your contents.)

Use the computers in your car to save money. Put the automatic transmission in the Drive setting and let it decide when to shift gears. Let your car run the gas pedal, by using the cruise control on long stretches of highway. These two things can increase your fuel economy up to 15%.

Slow down to 60 MPH (100 KPH) on the highway if you can. Fuel consumption increases like crazy the faster you go. So going 70 MPH might get you to the destination 30 minutes earlier, but the car will have burned 20% more fuel by doing so.

Buy the gasoline that your car is rated for. If the manual says to buy regular unleaded, you won’t get a gas milage boost from premium fuel. In fact, it may damage your engine by gumming it up and create pollution by not burning it properly.

Usually, you can pay at the pump with your credit card to fill up with gas. In the state of Oregon, they have to pump the gas for you. So do the gas stations in Richmond, British Columbia.

If you’re paying the gas station attendant with cash, it’s no big deal, but if you’re paying by credit card, keep an eye on your card. If they have to go inside to process it, go with them.

Never let your credit card leave your sight. Not in gas stations, retail stores, or even restaurants if you can avoid it. You don’t want to have it skimmed, or double swiped and your number sold to some crooks.

When driving through California, bring cash if you live outside the USA. That’s because they want you to enter the zip code for your credit card at the pump, or you can’t fill up.

You can’t enter Canadian postal codes, because the keypad only has numbers on it, not letters. So when road tripping, it’s a good idea to always have at least $200 cash in your pocket at all times.

As for what you get for the money, USA charges for gas by the gallon, but remember, they’re not standard size. They are only 128 ounces, not traditional 160 ounces like the old school British gallons.

Canada charges for gas by the litre. (Spelled liter in the USA). For those of you keeping score, there are 4.5 litres to the British gallon and 3.8 litres to the American gallon.

Always and I can’t stress this enough… ALWAYS, pay attention to signs that say, “Last Chance Gas” or “Next Town 120 Miles.” You better stop in and top up. There’s nothing more scary than having a car packed with gear and family, running on empty, desperate for the next town to show up.

You’ll see these “last chance gas” signs pop up before crossing deserts and mountain ranges. So even if you still have half a tank, stop in and top up, so you can drive with confidence.

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