- Speeding, sudden acceleration, and braking can push up your gas costs.
- The FuelStar app alerts you to costly driving habits and coaches you on ways to change them.
- You can also reduce gas consumption by driving less and sticking to lower-cost pumps.
Want to pay less at the pump? This app will help you change your habits.
Gas costs have dropped slightly in recent months after peaking at over $5 a gallon in June. However, a gallon of gas still costs over $0.50 more than it did a year ago. People are driving less, and carpooling or using public transport more in order to cut their gas costs.
Sadly, it isn't only the price of gas that's shot up. Everything from groceries, to rent and medical care are more expensive, and consumers want to find ways to save money. As such, a free app that teaches us how to drive more efficiently will certainly appeal. Today saw the launch of FuelStar, an app that promises to help people save up to 40% on their gas costs. Find out how it works, and how else you can reduce what you pay at the pump.
How FuelStar could help you reduce gas costs
The way you drive can have a big impact on your fuel costs. For example, according to the U.S. Department of Energy, people waste gas when they speed, accelerate, or brake rapidly. Eliminating this behavior can cut costs by 15% to 30%. Similarly, the site says that "each 5 mph you drive over 50 mph is like paying an additional $0.26 per gallon for gas."
The FuelStar app converts the Department of Energy's research into real-time alerts and advice. The app will tell you if you're driving too fast, as well as alerting you when you accelerate or brake suddenly. Created by Cambridge Mobile Telematics, it also gives you a breakdown after each trip that shows how much you saved or overpaid for gas. Finally, you can view all your recent trips, your exact savings, and how you compare to other drivers.
FuelStar is free to install. It's only available from the Apple app store right now.
Every dollar counts
Unless you drive like Michael Schumacher, it's unlikely the FuelStar app will reduce your costs by 40% -- that's the absolute best case scenario. However, even a small reduction will go some way to offset skyrocketing living costs and leave more money in your bank account.
Here are some other ways to reduce your fuel costs:
- Make fewer journeys. Perhaps you can carpool on the school run or tick off a bunch of errands on one journey rather than making multiple trips. If there are trips you can make on foot, by bike, or public transport, this can have a big impact on your bottom line.
- Find the lowest-cost pumps. FuelStar can help you reduce your consumption, but also consider cheap gas apps like GasBuddy and Waze that can locate the best value gas stations in your area.
- Empty your trunk. Just as carrying extra weight in your handbag or backpack will wear you out, carrying excess weight adds to your fuel costs too. If you've got a trunk full of unnecessary items, take out anything you don't need.
- Inflate your tires. It won't save you a lot per gallon, but checking your tire pressure each month could improve fuel-efficiency and increase the lifespan of your tires. Regular engine tune ups help too.
If you drive a lot, it might be worth looking at a credit card with high rewards on gas spending, or a gas station that pays rewards on your spending. That way you can get something back for money you would be spending anyway.
The headlines are full of warnings of a potential recession and increasing economic uncertainty. As consumers, it's difficult to put money aside to cushion against potential trouble when stopping at the grocery store or filling up on gas costs so much more than it did last year.
If you can incorporate small cost-cutting measures into your daily life, it may give you a little more money to put toward other financial goals such as an emergency fund. Let's say braking less suddenly and easing up on your speed could reduce your gas consumption by even 10%. That's a few more dollars in your pocket -- and a few more dollars to guard against potential hard times.
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