2020 has been a turbulent year, to say the least. As the country now finds itself in the midst of an economic recession, most Carolina residents are looking to save. The average American household ranks car costs: fuel, maintenance, insurance, etc. number two overall, after housing, in terms of salary allocation. According to the AAA, the average car or truck owner spends $6650 a year, or $554 a month on operating costs, per vehicle. We explore five useful, money-saving driving hacks that will reduce vehicle-operating costs in these times of economic strife.
#1 Reduce Weight
Eliminating clutter from your car is a simple, yet overlooked money-saving driving hack that anyone can do. You’d be surprised how much all the random things in your car actually weighs. All that extra weight equals more money spent at the pump. On average, for every additional 100-lbs of weight in your ride, you can expect about a two-percent reduction in gas mileage. Smaller cars and trucks experience an even more pronounced decline in fuel efficiency when carrying additional weight.
#2 Decrease Engine Idle Time
When stuck in traffic, at a red light, a drive-thru, etc. your automobile continues to consume fuel while idling. You are essentially getting zero miles-per-gallon when your car or truck’s engine idles, burning gas as well as cash. If your vehicle is at a stop and idling for more than ten seconds, we recommend shutting off your engine. Restarting your engine is actually more cost-efficient than idling for longer than ten seconds. Shifting your car’s transmission into neutral when stopped ten-seconds is more fuel-efficient than letting your engine idle. However, is less efficient than powering down your motor.
#3 Combine Short Trips
Warming-up a car that’s been parked for more than a couple hours consumes more fuel than a freshly driven vehicle. Planning-ahead and consolidating several errands around town into one trip is a great way to maximize fuel efficiency and save money. Combining short trips also helps to reduce the risk of costly repairs caused by worn-out engine components. If possible, make sure to avoid driving routes that are prone to traffic during certain hours. Sometimes taking the “long way’ is more cost-effective than a more direct path due to road congestion, stop signs, traffic lights, or narrow, winding roads.
#4 Smarter Fuel Shopping
Knowing exactly when and where to purchase gas is often an underappreciated, money-saving driving hack. It pays dividends whether the economy is booming or going bust. According to Money.com, the price-per-gallon of gas varies around 50-cents in the average zip code. Over the course of a year, consistently filling up at the best-priced gas stations in town equals a savings of roughly $270 annually. Smartphone apps like Gasbuddy, provide a quick, convenient method of tracking down the best fuel prices. Remember, gas stations in affluent neighborhoods or located just off highways tend to charge a premium.
#5 Save Money on Auto Insurance
Shopping around for the best car insurance rates can save hundreds, if not thousands of dollars a year. Different insurance companies will charge different rates based on a wide variety of factors such as geographical location, vehicle make and model, credit score, and each individual companies’ internal data. Many insurance providers offer promotional discounts to lure potential clients away from their industry competitors.
Most reputable car insurance companies offer discounts to motorists who insure multiple vehicles or additional drivers. Many providers also offer discounts to their customers who currently pay the same company for other services like home, fire, or life insurance coverage. Agreeing to structure your auto insurance payments into a lump sum, six or twelve-month tranches, will typically lead to increased cost-savings as well.
Aside from the money-saving driving hacks listed above, you can never go wrong making sure your car or truck has undergone all of its routine maintenance services. Especially during these unprecedented times. The team at Carolina Auto Service is well aware the country is going through extraordinary circumstances at-the-moment, including an economic recession. We remain dedicated to faithfully serving the Winston-Salem community’s automotive service and repair needs as we have since 2004. We commit ourselves to do our part in making sure NC motorists are getting the best value. Lastly, we hope that these money-saving driving hacks have helped you! Call us anytime!