With rising oil prices many of us are feeling the pinch at the pump. And for most of us the cost of running a car is taking up more of that monthly personal finance budget - no doubt eating into our discretionary spending. And discretionary spending is where the fun is after all. So in this post I'm going to share 7 tips to help you cut the cost of running your car.
1. Drive Less
Sounds obvious doesn't it? The less you drive, the less fuel you'll use and the more money you'll save. But how can we achieve this? We don't want to be stuck at home all of the time. The first thing you might consider is cutting out the short trips. I bet many of us could walk to the shops to pick up a few things. By not taking the car we can save money and get exercise at the same time. And if you do need to drive, consider combining trips. Run all of your errands on the one trip instead of making many trips.
2. Car Pool
And speaking of driving less, have you ever considered car pooling? This is not always practical depending on where you live and what your working hours are, but why not give it a try. If you pool with just one other person you'll cut your work travel costs in half. Get more people involved and you'll save even more money.
3. Drive More Smoothly
When you do need to drive, consider your driving habits. Do you accelerate smoothly and evenly applying gentle pressure to the accelerator? Do you move smoothly with the flow of the traffic? Or do you change back and forth between lanes - speeding up to squeeze into a gap then having to brake and slow down once you're there? Try driving more smoothly and you'll use less fuel and save money. My grandfather used to say you should try to drive as though there were an egg between the sole of your foot and the gas pedal.
4. Lighten The Load
How much junk to you cart around in the car with you? Have checked what's in the trunk? You'll be surprised how much stuff you can do without and how much fuel you'll save. So go through your car and make sure you're only carrying what's necessary.
5. Keep Your Tires Fully Inflated
Another great way to use more fuel is to drive around on under inflated tires. I'm a cyclist as well as a motorist and I can tell you it takes much more effort to pedal when there's not enough air in my tires. It's the same with your car. More air in the tires means less rolling resistance and more cash in your pocket at the end of each month.
6. Regular Servicing
A well tuned engine will use less gas as well. Make sure your car is maintained properly. Get it serviced regularly by a good mechanic to make sure the engine is running smoothly. And a well tuned engine not only uses less fuel but produces less pollution as well.
7. Buy A Smaller Car
Now this isn't something we can all do straight away. But next time you're due to upgrade your vehicle, consider a smaller model. It may go against the grain, but I suspect higher oil prices are here to stay. So If you buy a car with a smaller engine you could be laughing all the way to the bank. And if you're willing to invest a little more up front you might even consider a hybrid or something similar - again it's good for the environment.
Bonus Tip - Public Transport
7 tips sounded better than eight, so I've made this one a bonus tip. Public transport - do you use it? I know it's not practical for everybody, but it's well worth consideration. Depending on the quality and efficiency of you local transit system, you may be pleasantly surprised. And if you have to commute any sort of distance it can be a great way to catch up on your reading.
So there we have it. A whole bunch of ways to improve the way you travel. Not only will you be helping the environment in most cases, but you'll be saving money of your fuel bill as well.