Smart strategies to limit your gas spending

Smart strategies to limit your gas spending

Plus: Travelers can offset rising costs
Kip Doyle
gas pump

Keep up with the latest gas prices, access a gas cost calculator, and find more money-saving gas tips at


Finding a deal at the pump isn’t the only thing you can do to bring your car fuel bill down. The way you drive directly affects your fuel economy. Speeding and rapidly accelerating from a stop increases gas consumption, whereas planning an efficient drive and maintaining a consistent speed within the posted limit can help you go farther on a tankful.

Follow these 10 tips to get better gas mileage. You may just make fewer gas station stops and save money, too. 


Top 10 gas saving tips

  1. Plan your trips

Map a route before you go to minimize unnecessary turnarounds and backtracking. Avoid peak traffic times. Combine errands and go to “one-stop shops” where you can do multiple tasks (banking, shopping, etc.).

  1. Watch your speed

Fuel economy peaks at around 50 mph on most cars, then drops off as speeds increase. Reducing highway speeds by 5 to 10 mph can increase fuel economy by 7 to 14 percent.

  1. Drive conservatively

Avoid “jack rabbit” starts, rapid acceleration and hard braking, which can lower fuel economy by 15 to 30 percent at highway speeds and 10 to 40 percent in stop-and-go traffic.

  1. Avoid excessive idling

A car engine consumes one quarter to one half gallon of fuel per hour when idling, but a warm engine only takes around 10 seconds worth of fuel to restart. Where it’s safe to do so, shut off your engine if you stop for more than a minute.

  1. Use a “fast pass” on toll roads

Having a pre-paid pass on toll roads allows you to use the express lane, saving fuel by minimizing or eliminating tollbooth slowdowns and stops.

  1. Avoid rush hour

Take advantage of flexible work hours when possible to avoid commuting during peak traffic times.

  1. Anticipate road conditions

Watch the traffic ahead and “time” stoplights to maintain momentum and avoid unnecessary stop and go.

  1. Use cruise control

Driving at a consistent speed on the highway saves gas. However, never use cruise control on slippery roads as it could cause a loss of vehicle control.

  1. Shift gears efficiently

If your car has a manual transmission, upshift as soon as practical. When coming to a stop, use the brakes. Do not downshift to slow the car.

  1. Drive to warm the engine

In cold temperatures, start the engine and then drive the car normally to warm the engine. Driving brings the engine to operating temperature more rapidly and thus, saves gas.


Fuel costs can also impact your vacation plans and overall expenses. AAA advises travelers to offset these rising costs by:

  • Work with a trusted travel agent. They have many resources at their fingertips to help plan and organize a trip that fits your specific needs and budget.
  • Consider locking in pricing on things like tours and cruises now before prices start going up. Keep in mind that “paying in full” locks in the pricing for most services other than government taxes and fees.
  • Research travel insurance for every trip you plan to protect your investment.


AAA can help you find fuel prices near you through the AAA Mobile app, plus maps and directions for iPhone and Android. Download the AAA Mobile app today.

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