Feeling the pain of high fuel costs? Save some money at the pump with these tips

After months of enjoying some of the lowest gas prices in recent memory, drivers in Arizona and around the country are now feeling the pain at the pump.    

What can you do? Try making some changes using these tips from AAA and fueleconomy.gov.  

1. Change where you fill up 

  • Websites and apps can help you find the cheapest gas near you: GasBuddy, automotive.com, Gas Guru, MapQuest and Waze are popular choices. 
  • GasBuddy also has pages devoted to Valley cities so you can easily find the lowest prices in Phoenix, Scottsdale, Mesa, Glendale or anywhere else in metro Phoenix. 
  • Costco and Sam’s Club stores offer discount prices on gas for members. 
  • Grocery stores like Fry’s, Albertsons and Safeway have fuel rewards programs that can help you save cash at their gas stations. 

FUEL COSTS RISE:  Gas prices in AZ, western states among the highest  

2. Change your driving habits

  • Watch your speed. Every 5 mph you drive over 50 mph can decrease your gas mileage by about 7 percent or more. 
  • Quick acceleration and braking can waste fuel. Anticipate stoplights and stop signs, removing your foot from the gas pedal as quickly as you can. 
  • When getting into your hot car, don’t let it idle as the AC cools it down. Instead, roll down the windows and start driving to help your car cool down quicker, then turn on the AC. Most air-conditioning systems work better while you’re driving.
  • Driving around town with your windows down does save more fuel than using your AC; however, once you get on the highway, the drag of open windows makes that savings negligible. Roll up the windows and crank the AC.   
  • Park in the shade when possible and use a sunshade to keep your car cooler. 

JUST SAY NO:  Avoid these cars, SUVs with the worst fuel economy

  • Combine multiple trips. One longer trip that’s the same distance as several shorter trips can save you as much as half. 
  • At your local shopping center, don’t drive from store to store. Try to park in a central location and walk between shops. 
  • If you can, adjust your work hours so that you’re not stuck in peak rush-hour traffic. 

3. Change your vehicle (or what  you put in and on your vehicle)   

  • Obviously, smaller, more fuel-efficient cars use less gas than hulking SUVs — think about a trade-in if you’re serious about fuel savings.  
  • Don’t store heavy items in your vehicle — it takes more gas to ferry around all that extra weight. 
  • Keeping your fuel filter clean can boost gas mileage and decrease emissions.
  • Keep your tires at the recommended pressure: Lower pressure affects fuel economy and wears out your tires. (You can find the recommended pressure on stickers located in your car’s door jamb or in the owner’s manual.) 

4. Change how you hit the road 

  • AAA’s Gas Cost Calculator allows you to estimate how much you’ll be spending on your road trip by taking into consideration your vehicle’s make, model and year.  GasBuddy has a similar trip calculator. 
  • That cargo box can hold a lot of vacation gear, but it also reduces fuel economy. For example, a large roof-top cargo box can cut fuel economy by up to 25 percent when you’re driving 65 mph to 75 mph. Rear-mounted cargo boxes reduce fuel economy by up to 5 percent on the interstate. 
  • Use cruise control while on the highway — it’ll keep you at a constant speed and help you save gas.

READ MORE:

  • 5 Arizona experiences best avoided
  • Renting a car? Using the Bluetooth could put you at risk for identity theft
  • Gas price jump pushes consumer prices up 2.8% annually, highest rate in 6 years

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