17 April 2012
Gas Pains? Here’s How to Save at the Pump

Filling up your vehicle these days can hit you where it hurts most — in the wallet.  But there are plenty of ways to save money on fuel costs.  You can shop around to find the cheapest gas in town with Web-based services like nevadagasprices.com.

 Here are some other ways to save at the pump, courtesy of the U.S. Dept of Energy, Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy:

 Start with Your Car

First and foremost, don’t skimp on oil changes, oxygen sensors, fuel filters and air filters. A properly maintained engine can improve mileage by up to 4 percent.

  • Keeping your tires rotated and your wheels aligned may save up to 10 percent in fuel economy.
  • Read the label.  Using the recommended grade of motor oil can improve fuel economy by up to 5 percent.
  • Get the junk out of the trunk. For every 100 extra pounds of sports equipment, car seats, and other baggage you carry, your vehicle loses 1 to 2 percent in fuel efficiency.
  • Pump it up. The typical vehicle has tires under-inflated by 7.5 pounds, causing 2.8 percent loss in fuel efficiency. Buy a tire gauge, keep it in the car and, at least once a week, fill up at a service station that offers an air pump. 

 Then, Focus on You

The best fuel-saving device in your vehicle may be between your ears. The decisions you make on the road each day can have a substantial impact on your fuel consumption.

  • Drive More Efficiently.  Aggressive driving (speeding, rapid acceleration and rapid braking) can lower your gas mileage by as much as 33 percent at highway speeds and 5 percent around town.
  • Use cruise control and overdrive. Using cruise control on the highway helps you maintain a constant speed, which usually saves gas. When you use overdrive gearing, your car’s engine speed goes down, which saves gas and reduces engine wear.
  • Plan and Combine Trips.  A warmed-up engine is more fuel-efficient than a cold one.  Several short trips taken from a cold start can use twice as much fuel as one multipurpose trip covering the same distance.  However, letting your car idle to warm up doesn’t help your fuel economy — it actually uses more fuel and creates more pollution. 
  • Keep it legal.  Most vehicles get the best gas mileage at around 55 miles per hour.  Traveling at 55 gives you up to 21 percent better mileage, compared to driving at 65 mph or 70 mph.
  • Team up. The Nevada RTC (Regional Transportation Commission) provides a free program to help commuters find a better way to work.  Club Ride works with employers and commuters to establish custom commute options, such as carpooling, vanpooling, taking transit, bicycling and walking. Find out more at rtcsouthernnevada.com or rtcwashoe.com

 Choose a More Efficient Vehicle

When it’s time to buy another car, selecting which vehicle to purchase is the most important fuel economy decision you can make.

  • The difference between a car that gets 20 mpg and one that gets 30 mpg can amount to $953 per year (assuming 15,000 miles of driving annually and a fuel cost of $3.81). That’s $4,763 extra in fuel costs over five years!
  • Fuel efficiency statistics are available from www.fueleconomy.gov for most domestic and foreign cars from 1994 to 2012.

For more information on fuel efficiency and ways to save gas, including online calculators, visit http://www.fueleconomy.gov/.

If it’s time to buy another car, or if you want to check out refinancing options for the car you already own, stop by any branch of Nevada State Bank, or call us at 800-727-4743.  (Loans are subject to credit approval; restrictions apply.) 

The information contained herein may not represent the views and opinions of Nevada State Bank or its affiliates.  It is presented for general informational purposes only and does not constitute tax, legal or business advice.

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