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Another rather obvious tip that we should all put into practice: Turn off your ignition if you are going to be idling for more than a minute or two. No matter if you are waiting for your teenage daughter to fix her hair before you leave the house, are double parked outside your local supermarket while your significant other runs in for a half gallon of milk or if you show up ten minutes early for your kids’ carpool so that you can get a decent spot in line, turning your vehicle off will definitely save you money.

Keeping your vehicle’s weight down will also boost your gas mileage. While prevailing wisdom suggests that keeping sand or kitty litter in your car is a smart idea in the winter to provide traction, this time of year you obviously aren’t worried about getting stuck in ice or snow and carrying an extra hundred pounds in your vehicle can reduce mileage by as much as two percent. Go through your trunk and pull out all those cases of water you bought last time you went to Costco as well as any other unnecessary items. Not only don’t you want them taking up valuable trunk space, they are costing you money on every single trip.


If you still have roof racks or cargo carriers mounted on top of your vehicle from your last big trip, take them off as they provide extra drag on your vehicle and lower your fuel economy. Sure, you will have to put them back up the next time you need them, but it is an investment of time that will pay you back in cold, hard cash. Interestingly enough, while a roof top cargo box can reduce fuel economy by as much as six to 17 percent at highway speeds, rear-mounted cargo carriers minimize wind resistance and only cut gas usage by one to five percent

Consult your smartphone before your next fill up to find the cheapest gas near your current location, an especially good idea when you are away from home and aren’t familiar with the local stations. Check out Gas Buddy, Gas Guru, MapQuest or the AAA Mobile app, all free on both iTunes and Google Play, to locate the best prices in your area. Don’t forget to check out your local warehouse clubs (Costco, Sam’s Club and BJ’s), which oftentimes have discounted prices on gas.

Finally, as with so many other things in life, timing is everything. According to Forbes, gas prices tend to rise on Thursdays in advance of weekend travel and gas station owners generally change their prices at 10:00 a.m. so try to fill your tank before prices start climbing northward.


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Sandy Eller is a freelance writer who writes for numerous websites, newspapers, magazines and private clients. She can be contacted at [email protected].