Fourth of July Roadtrip: 8 Ways to Save on Gas

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eHow Money Blog

Many of you are probably planning a road trip for the 4th of July holiday: AAA predicts that more than 34 million Americans will travel more than 50 miles from their homes via car from Wednesday, July 3rd through Sunday, July 7th. While that’s likely going to be cheaper than flying, you still may end up spending a bundle on gas, as gas prices are averaging about $3.87 per gallon. To save on gas, follow these simple tips.

Before you hit the road:

  1. Put air in the tires.
    Under-inflated tires can reduce gas mileage, so it’s important to make sure the tires are filled with air before you hit the road. The Department of Energy says that you can boost gas mileage by more than 3% by ensuring that your tires have the right tire pressure.
  2. Replace clogged air filters.
    While replacing a clogged air filter on a new car likely won’t have any effect on your gas mileage, it will if you drive an older car with a carbureted engine, according to the Department of Energy.
  3. Get a tune-up.
    “Fixing a car that is noticeably out of tune or has failed an emissions test can improve its gas mileage by an average of 4 percent,” according to the Department of Energy.
  4. Use the right motor oil.
    The Department of Energy notes that drivers can improve their gas mileage by 1 – 2% just by using the grade of motor oil that the manufacturer recommends. If you aren’t sure, check your owner’s manual or look online.

On the road:

  1. Use gas apps.
    Use smartphone apps like AAA Triptik and GasBuddy to help you find the least expensive gas in the area.  The prices of nearby gas stations sometimes vary by 20 cents or more per gallon.
  2. Beware of paying with a credit card.
    Some gas stations charge you more if you pay with a credit card so that they can offset the processing fees that credit card companies charge.  While this isn’t that common, it may still be worth asking the attendant.
  3. Use cruise control.
    A study by Edmunds.com found that using cross control boosted gas mileage for a Land Rover going 70 miles-per-hour by 14%, compared to a driver who stayed between 65 and 75 miles-per-hour.
  4. Don’t accelerate or brake too quickly.
    Even though the holiday traffic might seem annoying, don’t take your aggression out on your car by slamming on the gas at a green light or braking too quickly (unless it’s necessary, of course).  A study by Edmunds.com found that gas mileage for a Land Rover was improved by more than 35% and for a Mustang by more than 27% when the driver accelerated slowly from a green light and braked gradually at a red light.
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