I was reading through my monthly statement and related materials from ING Direct and came across some tips for saving money at the pump. Three of the tips are old hat, but two are new to me.
* Plan trips efficiently. (Old hat.) I take this to mean that it’s best to do as much as you can in one trip without driving back and forth. Map out your destinations in your mind and drive along a path that covers them all without backtracking.
* Keep tires inflated to the recommended level. (Old hat.) “Low pressure reduces fuel economy 10 to 20%.” Low low tire pressure means that more surface area of the tire will be sitting on the road. This creates friction, which increases the power necessary for speed maintenance. I’m sure I learned some relevant equations in high school physics class.
* Drive 55 mph instead of 65 or 70 and get 21% better gas mileage. (Old hat.) And then get fired for being late to work. Or wake up earlier. I don’t know. Driving 55 mph on the New Jersey Turnpike is dangerous because you will not be driving with the traffic flow. This is a good idea for wherever 55 mph or slower is safe.
* Buy gas at the coolest time of day when it’s densest. (New to me.) This is good to know. Gasoline is sold by volume, which is the amount of space taken. Gasoline, like many substances, expands in heat and contracts in the cold. If you buy when the weather’s cooler, you’re buying more gasoline per volume. Update: See the comments below for some thoughts on this tip.
* When closing your gas tank, click your cap three times. (New to me.) In New Jersey, you don’t pump your own gas. I can, however, hear the clicks when the attendant has finished filling the tank. When I’m out of state, I always make sure the cap is properly sealed. ING says, “147 million gallons of gas vaporize every year because of improperly sealed caps.” That’s $441 million worth of gasoline (at $3.00/gal) wasted. That amount of fuel will power my car for
490,000 4.41 billion miles (at 30 mi/gal).
Updated June 16, 2011 and originally published August 8, 2006.