How to Save on Fuel on a Road Trip. The year is flying by, and that means that summer travel season (Memorial Day to Labor Day) is almost upon us! If you’re planning a road trip with your crew, undoubtedly, you are looking for ways to save some money on fuel.
It is a huge expense, and if you don’t plan for it, it can break your vacation budget. Once you’ve added fuel to your budget, here are some tips to help you spend as little as possible on this necessary expense.
How to Save on Fuel on a Road Trip:
1. Take your time. How to Increase Fuel Efficiency.
Cars get their best fuel economy at 55 mph, which is 10-15 mph slower than most expressway speed limits. While it will take you a little longer to reach your destination, you will save money on gas and may be less apt to miss cool sights along the sides of the road. Who knows? You may find a hidden gem that could end up being one of your favorite sights of the entire trip!
2. Use apps to shop the lowest gas prices wherever you are.
How are you supposed to know where the cheapest gas stations are when you’re in an unfamiliar town? With gas savings apps! GasBuddy is probably the most well-known app, and since it is a crowd-sourcing app (meaning people report gas prices), that means it has the most comprehensive price information. Gas Guru is another good one – it’s super simple, too, with a map to takes you right to the station with the lowest gas.
3. Keep a mapping app running.
You never know what you might come across (like unexpected road construction) when you’re on a road trip, but if you keep a map app going, you’ll be prepared. Waze is a crowd-sourcing app that will give you route information (and an added bonus of knowing where cops are hiding if you’re not following tip #1), so you have updates on delays. Google Maps is another great one that offers re-routing updates (which you can accept or reject) if it finds a faster way.
4. Time it right.
If you’re passing through major cities, plan out when you leave to avoid morning and afternoon rush hour. Nothing burns more gas (and patience) than sitting in a traffic jam! Stopping and starting over and over again is extremely inefficient for fuel economy, so leave a little earlier or later to miss that weekday traffic.
5. Pack light.
Extra weight in your car burns a great deal of fuel. Pack smart and only bring items that you need. If you’re staying in a vacation rental and planning to “eat in,” do your grocery shopping once you arrive. Give each of the kids one small bin to pack toys they want to bring with them; once it’s full, everything else stays behind.
6. Check your tire pressure before you go.
Just glancing at your tires won’t do it – even just a couple psi difference in where your tires are and where they should be will decrease fuel economy (and is very hard to detect without a gauge). Spend a few bucks to get a tire pressure gauge; that way you can check the pressure throughout your trip, as well.
7. Use the air instead of the windows.
This one seems strange since we all know that air conditioning burns fuel, but so does having the windows down or the sunroof open. Cars are designed to be aerodynamic, and having the windows open creates wind resistance. When on the expressway, use the air, and save the windows for when you’re bumming around town at slower speeds.
There are plenty of ways to save money on your vacation, but saving fuel is a great first step. Enjoy your trip, and drive safely!