Gas prices are at a seven-year high and they aren’t expected to drop in Arizona until the winter months. Right now, gas prices are averaging $3.39 per gallon in Maricopa County, which is roughly 90 cents higher than this time last year.
It’s also the highest price per gallon the market has seen since 2014, according to GasBuddy.com. The online gas–savings tool attributes the increase in price to an upsurge in gasoline demand as companies reopen offices and summer travel increases.
Did you know, filling your tank accounts for nearly 20 percent of all driving costs. In fact, according to the Department of Labor’s U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average American spends more than $1,968 on gas each year.
Luckily, there are several ways you can save money on gas:
It starts with properly inflated tires. Proper tire inflation is the key to maximizing gas mileage. It keeps your tire footprint on the road the way it was designed to be and provides both the best vehicle control and top fuel economy. When your tires are underinflated, it causes drag and reduces control. Check your tire pressure monthly. Are tires inflated to the pressure listed inside the driver’s side door or in the owner’s manual? Properly inflated tires will last longer too. If inflated correctly and checked regularly, tires can improve gas mileage by about 3 percent.
Don’t carry extra baggage. The heavier your car is, the less fuel-efficient it is, so don’t drive around with unnecessary junk in your trunk. Remove bulky items for day-to-day travel. For every additional 100 pounds of cargo in your vehicle, your fuel efficiency is reduced by 1-2 percent.
Suds up. Keep your car clean and waxed. Air moves over the surface of the vehicle easier, reducing drag, when your car is clean. Get your car serviced regularly to keep the oil clean and check air filters to keep airflow maximized and help your engine use fuel more efficiently.
Set your cruise control. Maintaining a steady speed helps get moremiles per gallon. When you maintain a consistent speed, you will slowly make your vehicle more fuel-efficient and in turn, spend less money on fuel. Most cars reach their optimal efficiency between 45 and 60 miles per hour. Efficiency decreases rapidly above 60 mph, so follow the speed limit.
Keep it cool. If you are concerned about gas efficiency, turn off the air conditioner and roll down the windows when you’re driving in stop-and-go city traffic or moving at slower speeds. However, if you are driving on the freeway, using the AC is the best strategy to keep passengers cool. Driving at faster speeds with windows down can reduce fuel economy because of aerodynamic drag caused by wind resistance.
Fill ‘er up. Avoid putting mid-grade or premium fuel in your tank if your car doesn’t require it. Premium fuel costs up to $1 per gallon more than regular unleaded and for most cars makes no measurable difference. Premium grade fuel is usually recommended for high-performance vehicles or those with high-compression, turbocharged or supercharged engines.
The good news is, cars today are more energy efficient than ever before, but using these techniques can help you save even more of your hard-earned cash.
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