There are at least 5 good reasons why we’ll see $4 gas by Memorial Day. From tensions with Iran to seasonality, it will be hard to escape the robbery your average American commuter will face (some are facing it right now) after pulling up to their local Exxon (NYSE:XOM) or BP (NYSE:BP). But, for those who are tired of groaning and complaining, there are really easy ways to save on gas — aside from buying a more more fuel-efficient vehicle of course. Unless you completely ignore my advice, there’s absolutely no way you’ll be spending any more money on gas in the next month.
Live in the 21st Century
Let that expensive Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) iPhone or Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) Android pay for itself by downloading a free app to your phone that will make it easier to find the cheapest gas stations in your area. After taking a quick glance at the iPhone App Store, the most popular app by far is GasBuddy, which is a free application. They even give away weekly $250 gift cards for being an active participant in their online community. Everybody wins! GasBuddy is also available in the Android Marketplace.
Get Routine Check-Ups
You know that owner’s manual you glanced and quickly shoved in the back of your glove compartment after buying your car? Yeah. Whip out that fine piece of literature and skip to the part that informs you what you should be doing to take care of your vehicle once you reach “x” number of miles. You’ll need it to find out when it’s the best time to get your oil changed (for my SUV it’s every 4 to 5 thousand miles), when you should rotate your tires, etc. Don’t wait until it’s too late. You owe it to your car, and you owe it to your wallet. A well-tuned car will increase your engine’s performance — including your mileage.
Regularly Check Your Tire Pressure
You can get this done while at the mechanic, because you’re now getting routine check-ups. Right? You can also do it yourself at your local gas station. Find the proper inflation number(s) for your front and back tires — this can be found in your owner’s manual and/or on the inside of your car, hidden by your closed, driver’s side door (do not look on the tires for the proper inflation as they will give you the maximum amount of pressure; you want the exact/perfect amount of pressure). Then find a gauge to measure your tire pressure — a cheap, non-digital one will do just fine. Then head to your local gas station, put your quarters in the air machine and filler-up. If this is too complicated, you can always pay your mechanic to get it done for you. Easy.
This is the last and simplest way to save money on gas. If you habitually drive fast, then you are habitually wasting more gas than your fellow law-abiding, speed limit-driving motorists. According to the U.S. Department of Energy (you know, just some shady organization that doesn’t know anything about energy with sources as dubious as Yahoo (NASDAQ:YHOO) Answers):
“While each vehicle reaches its optimal fuel economy at a different speed (or range of speeds), gas mileage usually decreases rapidly at speeds above 60 mph.
You can assume that each 5 mph you drive over 60 mph is like paying an additional 28 cents per gallon for gas.”
Know any other ways to save money on gas? Feel free to share your knowledge below.
— Andrew Lander, InvestorPlace @andrewlander