How to Cut Costs Behind the Wheel this Summer
By Carla Brand
Summer driving season is now officially underway. AAA projected that out of an estimated 36.1 million Americans who traveled more than 50 miles over Memorial Day weekend, at least 8 in 10 drove to their destinations. Summer typically brings higher travel costs as more Americans hit the road for vacation. Here are a few ways to cut your costs behind the wheel and keep more money in your pocket.
Slow down on the road. Studies show that just by driving the speed limit you can save significantly on fuel during long road trips. Research shows that every 5 miles per hour over 50 that you drive is like paying an extra $.24 per gallon for gas. Using cruise control on the highway can help you maintain a constant speed and save on gas. Rapid acceleration and other aggressive driving can also lower your gas mileage by 33 percent on the highway.
Shut off the air conditioning, *except on the highway.* This is a tip that is often confused. Rolling down the windows and turning off the AC only helps save fuel when you’re driving under 60 mph. Otherwise, the drag created by rolling down windows or a sunroof on the highway will decrease your fuel economy. The best method, if it’s an option for you, is to turn off the AC and keep the windows rolled up.
Keep your car well-maintained. Checking your tire pressure, air filter and keeping your car properly tuned can help reduce the amount of fuel your car burns. According to the Department of Energy’s website FuelEconomy.gov, you can improve your gas mileage simply by using the manufacturer’s recommended grade of motor oil. Replacing a clogged air filter can also help improve acceleration and fuel economy.
Remove unnecessary weight. Also according to FuelEconomy.gov, an extra 100 pounds of weight in your car can reduce gas mileage by two percent, so make sure you remove unneeded items like sporting equipment or tool boxes before your road trip. Likewise, try to avoid hauling cargo on your roof. Roof-top cargo boxes may seem convenient for family road trips, but the wind resistance will reduce your fuel economy by up to 25 percent at highway speeds. Instead, consider rear-mount cargo boxes.
Take advantage of gas discount programs. The retailers that you frequent most often may offer discounts on gas through their customer loyalty or credit cards. From May through September, drivers can save 15 cents per gallon at participating Walmart and Murphy USA gas stations by using a Walmart credit card, Walmart MoneyCard or Walmart’s new Bluebird by Amex Card. Drivers can also save 10 cents per gallon when using a Walmart gift card.
Shop around for car insurance. Experts have been saying for years that comparing quotes among different companies is essential to finding the best and least expensive auto insurance, but it’s been hard to do. Nine out of ten people shop around to save money on things like airline tickets, but only one in five comparison shop online for auto insurance. With AutoInsurance.com, shoppers can quickly compare auto insurance quotes and make apples-to-apples comparisons with an existing policy and then buy a new policy all in one place. In a Pennsylvania pilot program conducted from April 2013 to March 2014, consumers who purchased policies from AutoInsurance.com and reported a savings reduced their annual insurance costs by $1,168 on average.
Click here to start saving money on your auto insurance with AutoInsurance.com. Customers in Arizona, Pennsylvania, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Oklahoma, Tennessee and Texas can also find information at your local Walmart store.