If you feel you're growing new gray hairs each time you fill your gas tank these days, take heart. There are many ways to reduce your gas bill. Here are some money-saving tips, courtesy of the Texas Department of Transportation and the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality. They even apply to those of us who don't live in Texas.
- Keep your car well-maintained. If you replace a clogged air filter, your mileage will improve -- by up to 10%.
- Keep tires properly inflated and balanced. This can boost your mileage by up to a mile per gallon.
- Don't speed. For each five miles per hour (mph) over 60 mph that you drive, you fork over an extra dime per gallon. If you regularly fill your tank with 10 gallons and routinely drive 65 mph instead of 60, you're paying an extra dollar per fill-up.
- Be a gentle driver. Fast starts and stops and aggressive driving are huge money wasters. By maintaining stable speeds and driving calmly, you may save as much as 50 cents a gallon, which amounts to roughly a 25% discount -- these days, at least!
- Drive less. Combine your errands. If a short walk will save a drive, walk. Car pool. Take public transportation. Ride a bicycle. Driving is sometimes not your only option.
- Don't keep your engine running in drive-through lanes. That eats more gas than simply shutting the engine off and restarting later. Save even more by just parking and making your purchase indoors.
- Travel light. If you're carrying heavy things you don't need in your car, such as your cinder block collection or your sister-in-law, leave them at home. They're making your car work harder and use more gas.
- Shifting your vehicle into overdrive gear as soon as your speed is high enough will improve your mileage. With manual transmission, know that the lower the shift speed, the better your fuel economy.
MSN Money offers some additional tips:
- Find cheap places to fill your tank. Prices vary widely and may be especially cheap across your town or state line. Some gas stations offer big discounts on certain days of the week. Some discount retailers such as Costco
(NASDAQ:COST)and Wal-Mart (NYSE:WMT)sell extra-cheap gas.
- Avoid rush hour and other heavy traffic, as idling your engine will eat up gas.
- Look for a credit card that gives you rebates on gas purchases, if you buy a lot of gas. (If you're in the market for a card that offers rebates on everything you buy, check out our Motley Fool Visa Card.)
- Don't buy premium gas unless your car's manual says you need it.
L ongtime Fool contributor Selena Maranjian does not own shares of any companies mentioned in this article.