5 Ways to Save Money on Gas

by Kelly · 3 comments

in Living Frugally

Vintage Gas Pump

I had to fill my car up with gas this morning.

I’m lucky in that my commute isn’t too long. I live about 5 and a half kilometers from work, which means that my total driving for the day, including school drop off and pick up is usually under 10 miles. My husband isn’t so lucky, as he has to drive about 20 miles each way. Even so, it hurts to fill the tank up, both for financial and environmental reasons. Here are some ways that I try to spend less on gas: helping my pocketbook by spending less and the environment by driving less!

We consider our choice of car.

This has the biggest impact on how much gas you’ll buy, but it’s often the thing that’s hardest to change. We own two cars, which are, for the moment, both needed. Both our cars are stick shifts, which consume less than automatics (in France, about 95 % of cars are manuals; in the US, it’s the opposite). My car is more than 10 years old and is a little, tiny thing and so gets very high mileage. My husband drives the bigger car, but it’s also a diesel. Even though his commute is 4 times mine, he gets very good mileage from the diesel engine. Not only is diesel cheaper to buy (about $1 less per gallon than unleaded), it goes farther.

We consider how often we drive.

Luckily we live in a neighborhood that facilitates walking. We are about a 10 minute walk from school, with a variety of small grocery stores, boulangeries and so on within easy hoofin’ distance. When I can, I walk my son to school, or when picking him up will park near my house and walk to fetch him. I also try to have no drive days, or even weekends, where I won’t drive my car at all. If we do go somewhere by car, I make sure that we try to plan our route to hit other locations along the way: the thrift store when I’m going to the nanny’s house, a certain grocery store if we go to see my in-laws.

We keep our cars in good running order.

Getting a regular oil change is as important for your car’s health as getting a check-up is for yours. I try to do this on a regular basis, and when I forget, my husband is good at reminding me. I also try to make sure that my car isn’t loaded down with stuff. My husband, on the other, likes to keep a fleet of skateboards in the trunk of his car…just in case. Another tip that helps: keeping your tires properly inflated and rotated,

I stick to my weekly/bi-weekly gas budget

Because I know how far I usually drive every week, I’m able to predict how much I’m going to spend on gas. So instead of filling my tank up all the way, I add just €25 or €50 each time I fill up (weekly or every other week). This tip won’t work for everyone, but if you have a limited and predictable driving range then it might work for you.

Driving like a little old lady (from Pasadena)

No sudden starts. No hard stops. Don’t change gears like a race car driver. Thee things are all hard on your gas consumption and driving more sedately, without trying to be the first out of the starting blocks, will help you use less, and spend less on gas. For those of you with manual transmission cars, make sure to drive in the highest gear you can- sometimes I’m in fifth gear in the city. Another thing to keep in mind is your cruising speed on the highway- I’ve heard that driving 5 miles an hour slower will help boost your mileage considerably, but I couldn’t find any stats to prove this.

How do you save money on gas?


1 Jenna June 30, 2010

I drive a huge SUV (hand me down from my dad – so frugal in that sense…) I can usually use that excuse when carpooling with friends, gas guzzler in the city and a pain to parallel park. Also, I ride public transportation to work so that saves a bundle!

2 Ricky July 5, 2010

If you are fortunate enough to have an onboard computer, then start off checking your average fuel consumption since its last re-set then switch to your actual fuel usage. I try and keep the actual usage below the average. This helps to train you to drive economically giving you a better understanding of how much fuel you are using in particulalr conditions e.g. which gear is being used going up (or down) a hill. You will swiftly learn that there is no point in keeping your foot on the accelerator when you can see you are going to have to stop at a junction 400 metres ahead. Steady speed with no harsh acceleration and no sudden braking will save you a fortune.

3 Pam July 21, 2010

Nice tips you got here Kelly. Another way to save on gas, groceries and other daily necessities is by using coupon codes. As a mom, I can say that these coupons help me a lot…

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