Tabitha Rinehart Profile Picture
Staff Writer at Debt Reduction Services

cars-691144_1280Summer is peak road trip season, driving up prices at the pump.  Fuel prices are at their lowest levels since 2005 prompting more people to hit the road for their summer vacations.  While fuel costs aren’t negotiable, there are some things you can do to stretch your dollar.

Shop around

With the help of technology, you can easily find gas stations with the lowest prices which often vary from one gas station to the next, even within the same neighborhood.  Plan your stops ahead of time to take advantage of the best prices, the savings do add up.

Make a “Pit Stop”

While you may not have a pit crew at your disposal, a properly maintained vehicle can save you money on fuel costs and the headache of a roadside breakdown.  A few overlooked maintenance items, replacing a dirty air filter and properly inflating your tires, can increase your fuel efficiency by as much as 13%.   A tune up and tire alignment can add up to even more savings.

AC: On or Off?

Which is more effective-running the air conditioner or driving with the windows rolled down?  The answer depends on your speed.  If you’re driving around town (under 45 mph), it’s better to let the wind blow through your hair, you may even turn up the tunes!  Luckily, the windblown look is in fashion this season!  At faster speeds, wind drag becomes a factor and it’s better to run the AC.

Junk in the trunk

Removing the extra weight in your trunk (unfortunately easier to do in your vehicle) or cargo area can increase your fuel economy and you may even find your long lost hoodie in the process.  Those rooftop cargo boxes can also affect your efficiency anywhere from 2% to 25% depending on your driving speeds.  You may be money ahead to tow a small trailer instead.

Slow down

For every 5 mph you reduce your highway speed, you can reduce your fuel consumption by 7%.  If you have a lead foot like I do, you may not find this suggestion helpful!  Gas mileage drastically reduces at speeds over 55 mph.  Try using cruise control to maintain a steady speed and save gas.  Aggressive driving can also have a significant impact on your fuel economy (and the mood of your passengers).  Drive sensibly and safely to reach your destination.

While these tips may not quiet your “backseat driver”, we hope they help you save some money.  Wherever your summer travels takes you, don’t forget to buckle up and enjoy the ride!

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