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Thanksgiving Road Travel: 9 Gas Saving Tips for the Traveling Family

If you’re not flying to see family or friends for Thanksgiving, chances are you’re doing your fair share of driving. With gas prices averaging about 58 cents more this year than they did last year, every penny of gas you can save surely counts.

Image courtesy of T. Browne Smith

Here are 9 ways to save on gas prices and consumption:

1. Use supermarket reward points to take some change off of your per gallon price. Every time I shop at my local supermarket and use my rewards card, I earn points that can be used towards the price of my gas at their pump. So, for every $100 (easy!) I spend on groceries, I save 10 cents per gallon and the price I pay for gas ends up being lower than what I pay at the pump of my wholesale membership club.

2. Car maintenance is key to fuel efficiency. Oil changes and properly inflated tires are the more obvious maintenance tasks but are you checking your car’s hoses, air filters, wires, antifreeze, coolant, and other fluids, to make sure that they’re in tip-top shape?

3. Keep the car light. The heavier the vehicle, the more load on the tires. And the more load on the tires, the more fuel the car uses. Get rid of the excess items in and on the car such as racks, clothing donations, and whatever else hides in the recess of our vehicles.

4. Close the windows while driving on the highway. Driving with open windows and sun roofs at high speeds add drag to the car and decrease fuel efficiency. Although the air conditioner increases fuel consumption, it’s still a better option on the highway than open windows.

5. Plan your travel time. Stop and go traffic is the anti-god to fuel efficiency so be strategic about the time of day you choose to get on the road.

6. Slow down and follow the printed speed signs. According to the EPA, gas mileage improves 10-15% by driving at 55 mph vs. 65 mph.

Image courtesy of peachygreen

7. Keep it moving. Don’t let your vehicle idle for more than 30 seconds unless you’re in traffic or allowing a cold engine to warm up. And even in that case, the car shouldn’t idle for more than 1 to 2 minutes during winter conditions.

8. Tighten up. Make sure your gas cap is tightened. You can usually ensure this by turning it 2 clicks. Loose gas caps cause gas to evaporate.

9. Disconnect and turn off power-consuming accessories before you turn off your car. Anything that you plug into the cigarette lighter for power can force the alternator to work harder to provide said needed power. This increased work on the alternatior adds extra work (load) to the engine, which, in turn increases fuel usage.

Regardless of the increased prices for gasoline, road travel tends to be the more viable option for many families traveling for Thanksgiving. Do you count yourself as one of them? Hopefully these tips will help you keep more money in your pocket so you can put more turkey in your stomach.

 

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