January 6th, 2015
You may have saved up to buy the sports car you always wanted, but what about when it comes to fuel costs? Depending on how much you drive, you may have to fill up your gas tank several times a month, which could mean hundreds of unplanned dollars spent.
Also, you likely took out a loan to pay for your new car, which means you'll have to pay additional interest and fees on top of the principal balance. These costs can add up quickly and turn your purchase into a big expense.
To combat high costs, you could try saving money on gas. You can do this by becoming a more efficient and resourceful driver, especially during winter.
Many drivers aren't aware of the fuel they are unnecessarily wasting on their daily commutes. That's why it's important to be aware of a few best practices to keep in mind while you're driving this winter:
Gasoline isn't burned equally in winter compared to summer. Cold temperatures will make your fuel contract, which will actually reduce the amount of gas in your tank. This means you're getting less bang for your buck every time you fill up, and that every moment your car is subjected to freezing temperatures, your fuel economy decreases. While it's a problem you'll have to face head on for many months of the year, you can help mitigate fuel loss by parking your car indoors as much as possible when not in use.
Whether it's a covered carport, a multilevel parking lot or the garage at home, protecting your car from exposure to the elements can help. Plus, the interior of your car will be less cold, which will make your trip more pleasant once you hop in your car.
Carpool or shorten trips
Rather than make several trips out into the cold, it's best to run all of your daily errands at once. This will keep you from having to continuously leave the house and starting and stopping your car. Also, if you can carpool to work, then it will save gas and money for everyone involved - not to mention, you can keep from using your own vehicle for several days at a time, which will decrease the likelihood of an accident or the need to refuel.
Watch for tire pressure
The cold weather will deflate your tires significantly overnight, which will make it harder to drive. Though you might have a little more traction on the road, not enough air will slow your car down and create a lot of drag. This will increase gas consumption and make your engine work harder to reach certain speeds. By checking your tire pressure routinely and inflating if necessary, you can keep your car in optimal shape and make your commute more efficient.
Don't warm up your car
Having your car sit idle for several minutes does very little to improve your driving experience. Your engine actually heats up much quicker when it is in use, which means the sooner you start driving, the faster the temperature inside your car will rise. This will provide you the warmth you were originally seeking while also using your gas more effectively. Every second you are idle, fuel is burned, and yet you are not moving an inch. At least once you're moving forward, you are reaching your destination sooner, which is better for fuel economy.
While saving on fuel this winter, make sure you're also not overpaying for auto insurance. Speak with your agent to see how you can save on your monthly premiums.
CoverHound is a great resource for online insurance shoppers.