With Memorial Day around the corner, the great American travel season is here. During the summer, most Americans take at least one extended vacation, and four fifths take that trip by automobile. Unfortunately, this year, the price of gas is at record highs, and no one likes to spend their vacation money on gasoline. While there is little to be done about the price of gas itself, there are some things the average vacationer can do to help ease the costs of auto travel.
Tune up the car. Making sure that your car is running at its best will help you achieve better gas mileage. In addition to tuning up your car, you should also check to make sure that your tires are inflated to their proper pressure.
Other small things that can help with gas mileage are keeping your car washed and waxed and keeping your luggage inside of your vehicle. Bicycles, luggage, and canoes tied on top create additional air resistance, which increases gas consumption.
Make sure that your air conditioner works properly. While the use of your air conditioner increases gas consumption, it's better than driving with your windows open.
If you have a credit card that offers a cashback bonus, such as the Discover card, use that for gas purchases instead of an oil company credit card. Discover even offers a credit card now that is made especially for gas purchases. It offers a larger cashback bonus for than the regular Discover card.
Some gas stations offer a lower price if you pay cash. If that's the case, then pay cash.
Shop around. The gas stations closest to the Interstate may not have the lowest prices. You might save a bit by purchasing your gas a bit further from the highway.
Drive at or near the speed limit. Most cars get better gas mileage at 55 miles per hour than they do at 70.
Shop around before you travel. There are several Websites, such as GasPriceWatch.com, that can show you gas prices throughout your travel route.
Each of the items listed above will offer slight savings in the price of gasoline or in gas consumption. The effect of each one may be small, but the cumulative effect should be noticeable. And every penny you save on gas is a penny you can spend on a memorable souvenir, instead.