Buying fuel is an extremely dangerous buying habit. Why? It’s not because it’s flammable. It’s because it’s so easy to rationalize the expense or to forget about it altogether:
- Well I gotta drive, right?
- My city is so spread out, what am I to do?
- I need to own a new truck since we just bought a house and we’re thinking of redoing the bathroom ourselves.
- We all need to burn fuel – gas prices suck but they are unavoidable.
How to Drastically Reduce Your Fuel Expenses
Most people don’t even think of saving money on fuel. But you’re reading this post, so you have officially already have thought of it. Congrats to you. Now I’ll do my part and tell you how to drastically reduce your fuel expenses.
An old Corvette may get you 15 MPG. A new Tesla Model S will get nearly about 100 MPG (electric equivalent). If you really must drive a lot, look at what you’re driving. Is there a more fuel efficient option that will still do what you need? Probably. Visit fueleconomy.gov’s comparison tool to compare the fuel economy of many different cars. It’s easy-to-use and it will probably lead you to drastically reduce your fuel expenses.
I don’t mean to sound like a hippie here but a bike is a fantastic form of transportation. Think about it like this:
- a bike makes you thinner and richer
- a car makes you fatter and poorer
Consider swapping out the car for a bicycle for just one routine. This can be:
- commuting to work instead of driving
- only visiting friends if it’s on a bicycle
- grocery shopping with a bicycle
- if you have a bad habit, consider only allowing yourself to, say, eat fast food if you bike to Burger King
I bike everywhere in my city and honestly would do it even if it didn’t save me a dime. It’ll help drastically reduce your fuel expenses, but it’s a lot of fun actually!
Pick up the Phone (but Not While You Drive)
When I say pick up the phone, I mean pick up the phone before driving somewhere. Instead of driving to the department store to see if your tailored pants have arrived, call instead. This will likely save a trip and drastically reduce your fuel expenses. Instead of swinging by to see if someone is home, call first. They will probably appreciate the heads up anyway. No one likes the pop-in.
Stop Warming up the Engine
It’s a myth that cars need to be ‘warmed up’ before driving. This is a lingering belief which started during the days of carbureted engines. However, that technology has been extinct on most new cars for decades. Fuel injected cars and electric cars require no warm-up time. It’s just wasting fuel. This is what you’re supposed to do: Start the car – wait until the engine speed stabilizes (usually about 5-10 seconds) – drive. This might not drastically reduce your fuel expenses, but it will certainly help.
Try to leave your house in the car as few times as possible. This means combining as many trips into one as possible. This saves TONS of fuel. Instead of popping out of the house every few hours on a Saturday, make it a point to leave only once. While you’re getting groceries, pick up dinner. While you’re going to a soccer game, consider picking up dry cleaning on the way. It’ll be fine in the car. Doing this will essentially add hours to your day. Even people who aren’t budget conscious can appreciate that. Life is hectic!
My final tip for how to drastically reduce your fuel expenses is to maintain your car. Even a 4-cylinder won’t get good MPG if not properly maintained. The following affect fuel economy in large ways:
Air Pressure: According to the U.S. Department of Energy, your MPG can fall by .3% for every PSI below the recommended tire pressure. That means if your tires are just 5 PSI low, that can result in 1.5 fewer miles per gallon. Have fun walking that.
Checking tire pressure is easy. Get a tire pressure gauge for around $5. Pop it on each tire every month or two. Make sure the PSI in the tire matches the PSI that’s labeled on the inside of the drivers side door. It takes just a few minutes.
Spark Plugs: Spark plus are what cause combustion in your engine. An improperly working set of plugs means the engine won’t run as efficiently. Check your owner’s manual to see when the spark plugs need replaced. If you’re anywhere close to that benchmark, get them done. Or pull them out yourself.
Google it to see how easy they are to access. On my Mitsubishi Eclipse, it takes about 5 minutes to pull them. In my Oldsmobile Ninety-Eight, it took about 2 hours to get them out.
Air Filter(s): Any modern day internal combustion engine has at least one air filter. Think of an engine just like the human body. If your nose is plugged, it’s harder to breathe, isn’t it? When it’s harder to breathe, you have to work harder to do something like just walking up the stairs. It’s the same with a car. If the air coming into the engine is blocked, the engine will have to work harder just to idle. It will burn more fuel just like you would burn more calories.
Fuel Expenses Are Not a Fixed Cost
There’s no rule that says hundreds must be spent each month on fuel. Fuel expenses can be adjusted. See how low you can get your fuel budget. $100 per month? $70 per month?? $10 per month??? Make it a game. Your wallet will appreciate it!
Will you drastically reduce your fuel expenses?
My name is Derek, and I have my Bachelors Degree in Finance from Grand Valley State University. After graduation, I was not able to find a job that fully utilized my degree, but I still had a passion for Finance! So, I decided to focus my passion in the stock market. I studied Cash Flows, Balance Sheets, and Income Statements, put some money into the market and saw a good return on my investment. As satisfying as this was, I still felt that something was missing. I have a passion for Finance, but I also have a passion for people. If you have a willingness to learn, I will continue to teach.