Road trips are one of the world’s great vacation traditions, and how much they cost you depends a lot on how much you spend on fuel. You may not be able to control the price of gas, but you can do some things to minimize how much of it you use. If you’ve got a road trip coming up, try some of the following tips to save at the pump:
Skip the drive-through—When you sit in the car with your engine idling, you burn through a quarter of a gallon of fuel on average every 15 minutes. So, if there’s a long line for lunch, you might save money by choosing to stand and wait inside rather than joining the queue of cars in the drive-through.
Take it easy on the road—Driving style has one of the biggest impacts on fuel economy. Gas mileage drops quite a bit when you drive above 55 miles per hour, so try to stay at the speed limit or a little below it. You can also boost your mileage by avoiding abrupt stops and starts.
Seal your gas tank—In the United States, nearly 150 million gallons of fuel is lost to evaporation annually. Make sure you hear three clicks from your gas cap when you close it after filling up.
Cruise when you can—If your car comes equipped with cruise control, using it on long stretches with light traffic will often boost your fuel mileage. Otherwise you may end up burning extra gas changing your speed manually.
Plan ahead—A number of websites and mobile apps monitor fuel prices along major travel routes. You won’t get perfect data from them, but by taking a look at prices ahead of time, you may be able to plan a route that lets you stop at the cheapest gas stations.