The always great Money Crashers blog has these tips:

  1. First and foremost, do not go driving around trying to find the cheapest gas in town. By the time you find a station with gas for 5 cents cheaper, you will have used more gas trying to look for it then you would have saved money on it.
  2. Keep your car maintained properly. This includes changing your oil every 3 to 4 thousand miles. Change your air filter every 2 to 3 oil changes. Get your spark plugs checked and replace if needed. Get your fuel system flushed. By the way, all of these maintenances are much cheaper to do yourself, and you do not have to be a mechanic to do them!
  3. Car pool to work. There MUST be someone that lives near you, unless you are self employed or work in a very small office.
  4. Do not make hard stops and fast starts. It’s not a race, and who are you trying to impress? Your gasoline efficiency deteriorates quickly if you act like Jeff Gordon every time you accelerate or brake.
  5. If you are going on a long trip, I would suggest picking one speed and sticking to it. Stay between 65-70 mph and you will get much better gas mileage than if you are going 80mph. Don’t use the cruise control too much. Your car works harder when you are not in control of it.

I have 5 of my own:

  1. Don’t take trips out to the furthest Target from your home just for a throw pillow.
  2. Know where you’re going before you go there. Two words: Google Maps.
  3. If the movie theatre or restaurant or bar is only a mile away, walk.
  4. Drive the speed limit. No, seriously.
  5. Remove the junk from your trunk.

Alright, good luck and happy driving.

  • Jim

    FYI…on #5. Studies by AAA found that when you don’t use cruise control, you tend to drive faster and try to keep up w/ a faster pace of traffic. Therefore using more gas. I tried this on my last trip from Dallas to Austin, turned out they were right. I didn’t save much gas, but it also didn’t cost me any time really. Also, I think for every 5mph above 65 you use an extra 15% in gas. So 65 is pretty much optimal.

    And since you didn’t say it….ride your bike to starbucks!!

    AAA recommendations

  • Tom

    My guess is that whether cruise control saves gas or not depends on where you live. When going up hills, most people slow down a bit, and pick up the speed when going downhill. That’s more efficient than maintaining speed over the hill. But if you’re driving through Kansas, cruise control means you’ll be driving a constant speed, which is more efficient for the flats…

  • Regarding number 2, it is a much better idea to follow the maintenance schedule for your vehicle instead of needlessly changing things out. Most modern manufacturers recommend a 5-10k mile oil change interval and an air cleaner should last 30-40k unless you are in an extremely dusty environment.

    Don’t believe the Jiffy Lube line about “all service is severe service.” It isn’t. If you do the majority of your driving on the highway, chances are 10k miles with a quality oil (especially synthetics) is just fine. Plus, one trip to a quick lube they’ll push all of the “fuel flush” and “muffler bearing replacement” products on your and you’ll walk out with your wallet 5 tanks of gas lighter.

  • Well, I should have clarified number 2, because when I was writing it, I was thinking in terms of doing these maintenances yourself. Yes, it is very true that if you let a jiffy lube do these things, your wallet will be much skinnier. However, you can change your oil for about 12 dollars if you do it yourself, change the air filter yourself for about 5 – 7 dollars, and you can flush your fuel system with some fuel system cleaner.

  • hey donklephant, i’d love to exchange links if you do that sort of thing. Let me know. I’m going to add you no matter what, and thanks for the quote on your website.

  • I also change my own. I feel like changing the oil prematurely is generally a bad decision – both from an environmental standpoint as well as an economical one. Your money is better spent on changing a synthetic oil every 10k than a cheaper oil every 3k — and you will be receiving better engine protection without added cost. In all seriousness, in most cars and driving conditions you are throwing it away if you change it every 3k, even if you have dino oil.

    Plus, a synthetic motor oil typically increases mileage by a few percent.

  • Meredith

    Oops. I thought cruise helped with the gas mileage thing.

    I’m also guilty of the following:

    “Don’t take trips out to the furthest Target from your home just for a throw pillow.” – I just did that twice last weekend; and I mean I did EXACTLY THAT!!!!

    “Drive the speed limit. No, seriously.” – I ALWAYS speed. No exceptions.

    “Remove the junk from your trunk.” – My car is ALWAYS messy. No exceptions.

    It looks like my gas efficient car is not so efficient when I do not use it efficiently. These were great reminders. Thanks.

  • I have a 2005 F150. I practice all of the above, and it does make a difference (~12% increase). I have a 22 mile drive to work each day. I use my cruise on the interstate, and set it to 5 mph BELOW the speed limit. I love watching the traffic form up behind me, trying to get around. It really shows that the high prices haven’t really effected people’s behavior.

  • Chris

    “I love watching the traffic form up behind me, trying to get around.”

    You sound like a peach.

  • gal

    I drive a 2005 Toyota Prius, and nothing motivates fuel-efficient driving habits more than seeing exactly what MPG you are getting at any given moment. There’s a screen on the Prius that gives you the information about your fuel consumption as you drive, and I can easily improve my mileage on any tankful from the low 40s to 50+ simply by driving more gently.

  • Well, I tried this out once. I drove gently for a few hundred km city driving. Then I filled up and drove like Fangio, making the same basic trips. I didn’t notice the consumption changing at all. But, I have an old car, maybe newer cars are different.

    Wow, this must be the only time where I can say “Your Mileage May Vary” and have it be taken literally!

    Keep in mind, your car’s most efficient speed depends on its drag factor. Slicker cars can go faster on the flat without using much extra fuel. Vans or SUVs will pay more heavily since they typically have more drag.

  • Paul Jenkins

    A way to make your own ethanol…seen on CNBC :>

  • Thank for the great ideas for saving some money on gas!

  • I agree with spinfire. I switched to Amsoil’s synthetic oil and Amsoil filters in my car and extended my drain interval to 20,000 miles (yearly). My fuel economy increased ~10% immediately. I save money with fewer oil changes and at the pump. Amsoil synthetic oil is man made. Reduce your dependency on foreign oil imports.

  • I agree with #1-4 from Money Crashers, but I feel that #5 is only correct if you want to drive that fast. Anything over 60mph will drop you gas mileage because your car has to rev past 2000 rpms to sustain that speed…spinning your engine faster equals to using more gas. I would list what I think, but that might be too long. You can check out my tips to save gas at

  • Cheryl

    Yeah, car pooling is great. Sometimes I take the bus too. But when I drive my car, I like to feel the satisfaction of saving gas. The tips on saving gas on the Rambling News website it great…I think the tips there are a more proactive approach to save gas.

  • I’d like to ditto the cruise control traffic jam approach , I do the same thing. Your car will get on the average 15% better gas savings at 55 verses 65mph because of both the mechanical energy a fuel requirements of running an engine at higher rpms and that the vehicle has to overcome a great deal more wind resistance to get you to the higher speed . Cruise control is great because you arent always over correcting with the gas making for a much smoother ride and more efficient use of the engine. Here is a site loaded with gas saving info

  • I have another way your readers can save money.
    I am an inventor. This past summer I received US Patent #7,232,168 for The Baggy Buddy Grocery Bags Carry Handle. It’s a simple device that is used to simplify and expedite the carrying and managing of many bulky plastic bags full of groceries. I have them produced locally and sell them from my web site
    During the last spike in gas prices I received emails from customers extolling a benefit derived from using Baggy Buddy’s that I hadn’t thought of. Gas savings. By doubling up on their groceries, a tactic made reasonable with two Baggy Buddy’s, they were making fewer trips to the supermarket. One user even did the math. She figured she cut out one trip in three. Or 34 trips a year. With a 12 mile roundtrip to her local supermarket, with gas at $3.00 a gallon, she figured she will save about $76.00 a year.
    Of course, the amount of money saved will depend on the roundtrip distance an individual has to drive to get their grocery shopping done. But with gas prices heading up to a projected $4.00 a gallon, any trips saved will more then offset the $2.95 I charge for a Baggy Buddy with US shipping included.

  • Mike

    I’m glad I found this forum. Here’s a good way to save gas and the environment: encourage fast food restaurants and banks to close their drive-through windows.
    Really, it’s just plain laziness that makes people use the drive-through, and how many of you have witnessed long, slow moving lines at both of those institutions polluting the air with auto emissions? I can’t even calculate how many billions of gallons of gas could be saved by employing this method. Maybe the drive-through can be open late at night to give the staff time to clean up and go home but if corporations are concerned about “going green” they can be an environmental advocate in a hard-wired way. Close the drive-through windows!

  • Kev

    I dont know about #5, for every five mph you drive over 60 is like having to pay 20 to 30 cents more per gallon. I would just drive a little bit slower instead. So it takes me a bit longer to get there at least i save a few bucks