The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported Monday that average price of gallon of gas rose 18 cents in the past week, the highest level in more than four months, according to atlantagasprices.com.
So, no, it’s not in your head. The pain you’re feeling at the pump is real. While walking is the cheapest alternative, it’s not a very realistic one for most people here in metro Atlanta. However, there are some steps you can take to improve your gas mileage and pay less for gas.
1. Go online: This is your best bet for finding inexpensive gas. Sites like atlantagasprices.com, GasPriceWatch.com, and for an entire Georgia search, gasbuddy.com get tips from drivers on the cheapest places to buy gas. Atlantagasprices.com updates its Web site regularly, so you’re likely to get accurate price points. There are also online fuel finder applications that you might find helpful.
2. Don’t pay for what you don’t need: All major brands, from Shell to Chevron to Mobil, have catchy slogans and marketing tactics to get you to choose their gas. They all claim to have fuel that’s better for your car. According to AAA national spokesperson, Geoff Sundstrom, it’s mostly bunk. Sundstrom told Smartmoney.com: “There’s little difference between brand name gas and any others.” That’s because since 1994, the government has required that detergents be added to gasoline to prevent fuel injections from clogging. It’s monitored by state and local agencies, and even the generic stations are held to the same standards. If anything, they may have slightly less detergent, but not enough to make much of a difference.
3. Buy wisely: Gasoline is most dense when temperatures are cooler. That means you’ll get more for less if you buy early in the morning and later at night. The most expensive time to buy is during rush hour.
4. Choose your day: It’s well known that gas is more expensive on the weekends. What is less clear is which day is really the best to buy. Many people say you should buy gas on Wednesdays, but competition and other factors also impact prices. At any rate, mid-week is cheaper than weekends, across the board. Still, don’t drive around on empty waiting for the perfect day. Driving on low fuel levels can be damaging.
5. Slow down: This is a tough one for me, I confess. However, I do know that it’s true. Driving slower saves gas. For optimum gas mileage, drive the speed limit.
6. Routine maintenance: You should have your tire pressure checked, change your oil and filters, have tune-ups and have other routine maintenance checks to help improve your gas mileage and the life of your vehicle.
7. Public transportation: Whether it’s one day a week or several, taking public transportation can obviously save you gas money. You can also car pool with friends and colleagues to cut down on fuel costs, and help preserve your vehicle.
8. Wholesale clubs: Gas at Costco, Sam’s and Wal-Mart is usually less expensive. If you’re not a member of a wholesale club, here’s a tip. You can buy a gift card at your local Wal-Mart, and use the card for gas at one of the stations.
9. Don’t waste gas: Once you hear the click, stop the pump. Overfilling the gas tank doesn’t save you any money.
10. Shop around: Most of us choose a gas station that is most convenient, and we tend to always fill up at the same station. If you’re like me, you may get annoyed when you pull off and notice the station two blocks away is five cents cheaper per gallon. It pays to be flexible.
Have a tip to save on gas?
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