I filled my gas tank recently at a cost of $3.21 a gallon. In my area of the nation, that's considered a great price compared to what we've paid during the past six months.
Yet I realize that as reasonable as this price feels, it still costs a massive amount of money to fuel your car. Even if gas prices drop below $3 per gallon -- a relative bargain -- driving will still be an expensive activity.
In light of that fact, I'd like to share a few of my favorite tips for trimming the cost of gas.
1. Travel when traffic is light
Bumper-to-bumper traffic is not only annoying, it's also expensive. Stop-and-go driving uses a lot more gas than cruising at a steady speed. Drive during nonpeak hours whenever possible, even if this means you have to wake up extra early or cope with some other inconvenience.
2. Check your tire pressure
Check your owners manual to find the recommended tire pressure for your vehicle's make, model and year. Then, check your tires with an air gauge to make sure they are filled with enough air, which will help increase fuel efficiency. Many gas stations offer air pumps that are either free or low-cost.
3. Use apps such as GasBuddy
The free GasBuddy smartphone app lets you view real-time gas prices. If you're on a road trip, you can check the map to see whether gas is cheaper near your current highway exit, or another 20 miles down the road. Remember, don't check apps while driving. Ask your passenger to check the app, or look at it when you have pulled over for a food or restroom break.
4. Consolidate breaks
Going on a long road trip? Stopping less frequently for food and restrooms will not only help you arrive faster, it will also save on gas costs. While it can be a good idea to take a break after every two hours of driving for the sake of maintaining mental alertness, don't pull over excessively (such as three or four times every hour). Try to buy food and gas (and use the restroom) within the same stop.
5. Obey speed limit laws
Driving at excessively high speeds will reduce your fuel efficiency. Obey speed limit laws, which help you both maintain good gas mileage and avoid the risk of paying for an expensive speeding ticket.
Paula Pant blogs at AffordAnything.com about creating wealth and living life on your own terms. She's traveled to nearly 30 countries, owns five rental properties and works for herself. Follow Paula on Twitter @AffordAnything.