Arvest Education Center

Saving Money at the Pump

Whether driving across town or cross-country, everybody wants to save money at the pump. Your car's estimated gas mileage is just that—an estimate. Important variables include how you drive, refuel and maintain your car. The Federal Trade Commission, the nation's consumer protection agency, offers these tips to help you maximize mileage:

AT THE PUMP

  • Check your owner’s manual to learn which level of octane to use in your vehicle.
  • Price shop. A number of websites and smartphone apps list the cheapest gas in your area. Stores and membership clubs sometimes offer discounts to customers and members.
  • Use a cash back card. A number of credit cards offer cash back for gas purchases or rewards points that can be used for cash purchases. When used responsibly, credit cards can save you money at the pump.

ON THE ROAD

  • Avoid “warming the engine.” Modern engines don’t need to warm up and doing so wastes gas.
  • Slow down. According to Fueleconomy.gov, each 5 mph you drive over 50 is like paying an additional 24 cents per gallon for gas. Driving the speed limit improves safety and gas mileage.
  • Turn your car off when stopped. A common myth says it takes more gas to start your car than to leave it idling for minutes at a time. Not true! It takes only a few seconds to burn the amount of gas used when starting your car. Turn it off if you anticipate a wait.
  • Use cruise control. By keeping the accelerator steady, cruise control may improve fuel economy on the highway. Use it when you can.
  • Anticipate traffic conditions. Reduce braking, limit quick starts/stops and increase gas mileage.
  • Turn off the air. Air conditioning reduces your vehicle’s fuel economy. If you can’t leave it off, opt for the recirculation or economy setting to maximize fuel economy.
  • Combine errands. Several short trips taken from a cold start can use more gas as one trip covering the same distance.
  • Lighten the load. Remove excess weight from the trunk. An extra 100 pounds can reduce a typical car’s fuel economy by 2 percent, according to fueleconomy.gov.
  • Avoid roof cargo. A loaded roof rack creates wind resistance and can decrease fuel economy.

AT THE GARAGE

  • Keep your engine tuned. Tuning the engine to your owner’s manual’s specifications can increase gas mileage.
  • Keep your tires properly inflated and aligned.  In addition to improved handling and longer life, proper tire inflation and alignment can increase gas mileage. Check the doorjamb or owner’s manual for the proper level of inflation. Also, make sure to check your tire pressure when the tires are cold.
  • Use the correct oil. According to the U.S. Department of Energy and Environmental Protection Agency, using the manufacturer’s recommended grade of motor oil improves gas mileage. Also, motor oil labeled “Energy Conserving” on the performance symbol of the American Petroleum Institute contains friction-reducing additives to help improve fuel economy.

IN THE STORE

  • Be skeptical. The EPA has tested many supposed “gas-saving” devices, including “mixture enhancers” and fuel line magnets. Very few provide any substantial fuel economy benefit.

This content has been provided by ClickRSVP and is intended to serve as a general guideline.