How to Save Money At the Gas Pump This Spring

With every summer comes the inevitable problem of increasing gas prices. For anyone who commutes or drives on a regular basis, the season cost bump in fuel ends up being a reminder of how easily life can change on a dime from month to month. Vehicle fuel tends to be one of the biggest household expenses in most markets and regions, so a seasonal rise in cost is a big deal. Further, when something major happens in the geopolitical arena, that eventually ends up translating to increased fuel costs. However, there are ways to limit the cost exposure at the pump. Here are a few tips on how to go about it.

Slow Down

An amazing amount of vehicle fuel can be saved by simply slowing down while driving. While the AC Cobra Coupe famously reached 186 miles per hour on a British motorway in 1964, maintaining slower speeds can help you get more for your money. The difference in cost week per week by simply driving 65 mph versus 75 mph comes out to 30 to 50 cents saved each way. While that seems like nothing, those savings turn into $20 to $40 monthly or $240 to $400 annually. Simply slowing down can keep this money in one’s pocket with increased fuel efficiency between consumption and distance traveled.

Don’t Waste Money Chasing the Lowest Price

When gas rates go higher, people often travel all over the place trying to fuel up at the lowest-priced gas station in the area. Don’t bother. Despite the fact that the Oklahoma City sales tax rate is 4.13%, gas is exempt from statewide taxes. But that alone won’t save you a ton of money each time you pump your gas. You’ll probably end up spending more on wasted gas and air conditioning just to find a lower-cost gas station. Instead, find the pump that is closest to you that has a comparable price.

Choose a Gas Sipper, Not a Gas Guzzler

Sports cars with big engines are fun to drive. However, they are also called gas hogs for a reason. Although the very first Ford vehicle was sold for $850, you certainly paid a lot more than that for your car. And you’ll continue to pay for it in the form of insurance, maintenance, and (of course) fuel. To generate all that power, larger car systems consume as much a twice the fuel of a gas-efficient car. If you have a choice with more than one vehicle in your house, use the one with the smaller engine for regular commuting. Your fuel will last longer, you will have fewer trips to the pump, and your cost will be far lower week-to-week than using the big engine vehicle. Save that car for the weekend fun-run instead.

Consider a Ride Share

Who says you have to pay for all your commuting yourself? If you can work out your regular commuting with someone else going in the same direction, sharing the trip in one vehicle instead of two is a win-win. You get half your fuel cost paid by someone else and you get some company to talk to daily to and from the office. Switching off vehicles month to month could save even more, especially during the summer and the high-peak phases for gas prices. Work out a deal with your commuter friends to save additional costs on your car with less wear and tear.

Get the Company to Pay for It

If you’re doing a lot of running around for work, then get your employer to pay for your fuel instead. Employers may cover travel for work-related purposes because it’s still cheaper for a worker to use their car than providing a company fleet car.

If your driving is for your own business instead of an employer, don’t forget to claim your mileage deduction on your tax return. Your travel for your business is deductible and can easily be calculated by miles traveled. Just make sure to keep a log for all your trips and the miles driven to prove your documentation if the IRS asks for it after the fact. The deduction at the end of the year can be a nice offset to your gas costs to the tune of couple hundred dollars a year.

There are a few other ways to save at the pump both directly and indirectly; you just have to be proactive to make it happen. Whatever the case, don’t just accept having to pay at the pump as out of your control. You can save money being creative.

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