The amount of money you spend at the pump can quickly add up. Here are a few things you can do to help reduce the amount you spend on fuel.
· Use public transportation or carpool. If you live in an area with a good public transportation system — or near co-workers who make the daily commute — take advantage of these opportunities. Not only will it save you money, but it may save you time.
· Maintain your vehicle. Keeping your gas tank full, gas cap tight, engine tuned up, tires inflated and trunk empty can help you increase your fuel efficiency by decreasing evaporation and reducing the strain on your vehicle.
· Buy the lowest grade (octane) of gasoline that is appropriate for your vehicle. Unlike past vehicles, today’s engine control systems can compensate for low octane by monitoring knock activity and adjusting ignition advance to quell it. This can potentially save you hundreds of dollars a year if you currently buy a higher grade of gasoline than your vehicle actually needs.
· Use gasbuddy.com to locate the filling stations in your area that offer the lowest prices. If you’re planning a road trip, check to see which cities along your route have the lowest cost per gallon and stop to fill up your tank in these locations.
· Avoid idling. It takes more gas to idle for 10 seconds than it does to shut off your vehicle and turn it back on. So, the next time you’re waiting to pick someone up from work, school or the grocery store, turn off your engine. Also, today’s vehicles typically only need a minute to warm up on even the coldest days before they are ready to go.
· Drive thoughtfully. Don’t make sudden stops or starts, speed, or rest your foot on the brake. All of these things simply cause your vehicle to burn through fuel faster, costing you additional dollars.
· Plan your route. If you need to make several stops, make a list of where you need to go and identify the most efficient way to get there to reduce the amount of gas you use.
Renée A. Hanson, CFP®, CEP®, CDFA™, CFS, is a private wealth advisor with Hanson, Ayala & Associates, a private wealth advisory practice of Ameriprise Financial Services, Inc. Her passion is in helping women achieve their dreams and financial goals, regardless of life’s many obstacles. Renée is licensed/registered to do business with U.S. residents only in the states of AZ, CA, CO, GA, IA, IL, MI, MN, MT, NH, NJ, NM, NY, OH, PA, SC, TX, VA, WA, WI. Please visit: www.reneehanson.com to learn more.
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