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A car drives away from the camera down a highway.
There are several ways to save a bit of gas money and get more miles out of your tank.

No one likes paying for gas. It’s one of those expenses that you don’t want to spend on but is completely necessary. Whether you commute, drive the kids to school, or live a bit out of town, there are plenty of ways to get the most out of your gas mileage and save a bit of change in the process.

1. Don’t drive aggressively

Harsh starts and stops, quick turns, speeding, and tailgating can all guzzle gas. When you drive aggressively, you’re fueling your car to make movements more energetic than it needs to make. Think about all the times you brake while keeping close to the person in front of you on the freeway. With every braking, you’re counteracting the fuel powering your car – essentially wasting that last step on the gas pedal.

2. Ditch the drive-thru

Drive-thru lines have gotten slower over the years, and in 2018 the national average spent in a drive-thru was 234 seconds, according to a yearly QSR study. That’s nearly four minutes idling. Instead, park and go inside. Your legs could probably use the stretch and you can save yourself gas consumption.

3. Keep the windows up

You’ve probably heard this before. You’ll save gas by rolling the windows up and turning the AC on on a hot day. The drag on your car is far more harsh on your gas tank than your air conditioning. In Central Texas, you probably would prefer air conditioning anyway.

A black car with a green kayak racked on top, sitting in a driveway near a brick house.
When possible, remove excess weight and additions to the outside of your car. Racks like this increase wind resistance and drag on your vehicle.

4. Ditch excess weight

Weight in your car can cause it to drag, using more fuel. If you’re on vacation, you might be tempted to leave quite a bit of stuff in your car to avoid repacking later. Not only can the extra weight cost you while you’re out exploring, but the sight of bags, suitcases, or valuable items can attract car vandals. If you don’t need it in the car, take it out.

5. Properly maintain your vehicle

This goes without saying: Take care of your car. Taking proper care of your tires, changing out your air filters regularly, and tuning your engine can save you fuel over time. Taking care of your vehicle means it’s running smoothly and using less gas to do so.

 

No one can truly avoid accidents. We can do our best to stay alert and drive defensively, but it’s no guarantee. We do, however, have control over other preventative measures to deter damage. Small or large, these damages can cost money and age your vehicle.

Park away from other vehicles when possible

Cars sit in a Wegman's parking lot, with more cars close to the store, and fewer farther out.
Parking farther away from other cars can prevent unwanted dings and scratches.

Many new car owners choose to walk a bit farther to their destination if it means fewer dents and scratches. New or not, parking a little way out may prevent getting hit by shopping carts or other car doors.

While little scratches probably won’t bother the average car owner, they accumulate and make your car look older.

Hide valuables out of sight

Theft happens, and thieves are often tempted to break in when they see something valuable. Hide your expensive sunglasses, electronics, or handbags in the glove compartment, in the console, or in the trunk of your car. Keeping valuable items hidden makes it more of a gamble to thieves who aren’t sure which cars will be worth their while.

Keep it covered

Putting your car in the garage or under an overhang can protect it from the elements. Hail damage is rare, but when it does hail, you’ll be glad to have protection over your car. The sun can also chip and fade your paint. This will make your car look old and unkept when your paint starts bubbling enough to be noticeable.

Aside from weather, you might want to put your car in the garage to prevent it from getting scratched by kids playing around it, or a potential hit from another car if you’re parking on the street.

Park on higher ground

A road sign sticks out of water, which is apparently higher than normal.
High water can cause serious damage to your vehicle. Park on high ground and avoid driving through water.

If you live in central Texas, you probably know someone who’s had flood damage to their vehicle. Flooding can cause mildew and mold on wet carpet and possibly rust or corrosion inside the vehicle.

Try to park on higher ground when you hear about a flood watch. Of course, this isn’t a guarantee if you live in a flood zone, but making the effort to park somewhere safer could save you from damage.

*Also, TURN AROUND DON’T DROWN. Don’t try to cross low-water crossings when there’s water. Not only could this total your vehicle but doing this also risks your life.

Keep it clean

A hand washes the hood of a bright-red car with a sudsy yellow sponge.
Washing your vehicle can prevent paint damage and corrosion later on.

Dirt, road salt, and other harmful elements can sit on your paint and cause small scratches as well as causing discoloring or rust over time. Wash your car periodically, especially after a road trip when your car has probably picked up a lot of grime.


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