Like death and taxes, the rising price of gas seems like one of those things you can depend on, especially during the summer months. Here are some tips for saving money while driving and at the gas pump:
Don’t invest in premium. Most cars run just fine on regular-grade gasoline, even if the owner’s manual specifies higher-priced premium fuel. As long as your engine still runs smoothly, feel free to go with regular.
Don’t be idle. Letting your car run when you’re not going anywhere wastes fuel; you can burn through one-eighth of a gallon idling your motor for 10 minutes. Turn off your engine if you expect to be stationary for more than 30 seconds.
Stay in tune. Have your car serviced regularly. A good mechanic will check on the essentials, such as whether you’re using the right type of motor oil and whether your tires are properly inflated.
Watch your fuel gauge. Fill up your tank when you can, not when you’re down to your last few drops of gasoline and can’t afford to look for the best price. Some experts advise filling up at midweek (gas prices tend to rise on the weekends) or pulling off the interstate and into a moderately sized city where you have more prices to compare.
On the other hand, Consumer Reports says its research has found that filling up in the cool of the morning doesn’t really result in saving very much money: You may get a little extra gas because it the fuel is dense in the cool air, but not enough to notice.