99 Great Ways to Save Money

Car Costs

Fact: A gallon of gas in the U.S. averaged just over $3 in May 2021. One year later, it had increased to over $4.50.

15. Brake less, coast more. Think of driving this way: Everytime you brake, you waste the gas you just used to get to your current speed. The more you can coast or avoid the surging and slowing of crowded traffic, the higher your gas mileage will be. Get in the habit of accelerating gently, coasting toward red lights and stop signs, and trying to use the brake a little less. A secondary benefit: You’ll be driving more safely, which could save insurance dollars and perhaps collision repairs. 

16. Choose a different tire. New tires can actually lower gas mileage because more rubber literally meets the road. If getting better gas mileage is important to you, consider shopping for what the industry calls low rolling resistance tires, which are manufactured to lessen the friction of the tire against the road; some estimates suggest they can improve fuel economy by 4 to 11 percent. Be sure to check their safety ratings for snow and rain, but their reputations are generally good. 

17. Sell your car privately. Due to current demand for used cars — especially older, high mileage vehicles — a private sale is likely to fetch more for your car than a dealer might pay in a trade-in deal. If you are buying a new car, negotiate that price independent of the trade-in; only after the deal is done should you let them bid on your old car. That way you’ll know what the dealer is really offering. 

18. Yes, really, consider an EV. Most major carmakers offer electric vehicles now, meaning prices are coming down while gas prices are going up. Increasingly, buying an electric vehicle is likely to make economic sense. Currently, if you drive 12,000 miles a year, you can probably expect to break even in about two to three years, versus a similar gas model. Public charging stations charge about twice what it costs to charge at home, so you’ll save more if you drive mostly within the car’s charge range. Apps are available to tell you where to find free public charging stations. 

19. Check gas prices by phone. Several phone apps are available to give you the current cost of gas in the area where you’re driving. For example, search “gas” on the Waze app, type “Geico gas” into your browser for the same result, or check the GasBuddy app.

20. Ignore that oil-change sticker. Most oil-change shops slap a sticker on your windshield summoning you back in 3,000 miles. Check your owner’s manual. Many newer cars use a synthetic oil that needs changing far less frequently than older cars. 

21. Skip oil additives, unless …The oil in your engine already contains additives designed to prolong the engine’s life. So if your car is running well, aftermarket additives won’t make it last longer. An older car with high mileage may be the exception: Ask your mechanic whether additives could squeeze more miles out of the car.