Five Ways To Fight Back Against $4 Gas
Published: May 13, 2012
Five Ways To Fight Back Against $4 Gas, Every five miles you drive over this pace you’re adding 20 cents per gallon for gas. How consumers can reduce gas costs
With gas prices hovering around the $4 per gallon mark, many consumers are finding their budgets stretched thin.
“Some people have no idea how much they’re spending on gas because they’re so disgusted by an increasing expense that they have no control over,” says Dorothy Barrick, group manager and financial counselor for Farmington Hills, Mich.-based credit counseling organization GreenPath Debt Solutions.
While you can’t control what your local gas station charges, here are five steps you can take to save on gas and reduce the amount you spend to fill up at the pump.
Take out your owner’s manual
A lack of familiarity with your car’s owner’s manual could be costing you money. It tells you what octane level of gasoline to use, the type of oil that’s most efficient and your car’s optimal tire pressure.
Very few auto manufacturers recommend premium fuel. “If you put that in, you’re unnecessarily spending money,” says John Nielsen, AAA’s director of Automotive Engineering and Repair.
Proper maintenance, such as regular oil changes and air filter replacements, also can save on gas. In fact, you can increase your gas mileage by about 4 percent if you keep your engine tuned to your owner’s manual’s specifications, according to the Federal Trade Commission.
However, too much maintenance can negate your gas savings. While some people change their oil every 3,000 miles, their owner’s manuals may recommend doing so after 7,500 miles, Nielsen says.
In addition, properly inflated and aligned tires also can lead to savings on gas, potentially adding 3 percent to gas mileage, the FTC says. Check your tire pressure monthly, says Brandy Schaffels, senior editor at TrueCar.com. And you don’t have to get your hands dirty in the process since most tire centers will check it for free, Schaffels adds.
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