If You Pinch Pennies At The Pump, You’ll Likely Lose Dollars
As gas prices soar into the hyper-inflated stratosphere, don't get too caught up in the search for the cheapest that'll only save a few cents here and there. Every time gas goes way up, people pick up bad money-saving habits that actually cost them more in the long run. Here's the rundown.
Bundle Up Buttercup
First off, the best way to save money is to plan out how you're going to spend it. That's not just budgeting, it's time management. What is the point in checking your gas apps to find the cheapest price in town if you're not filling up efficiently while you're on your way to or from wherever you've been?
I honestly have a friend that likes to fill up at night. Gasoline shrinks and expands depending on temperature... so in theory, you technically get more gasoline per gallon when you fill up in the cold... Only he fails to remember the finer details. The shrinkage/expansion is minuscule at best, and if he's already home, then leaves to fill up, then goes back home... his attempt to save money has cost him the time and fuel to drive to the gas station and back home.
That's not how you save money. Instead, you bundle your errands. Get gas on the way to or from work/school/grocery shopping/etc... You're already passing the station, it will cost you nothing extra to do it on the go.
Don't Mistakenly Think E10 Ethanol Gasoline Is Actually Cheaper
Naturally, the cheapest prices for gasoline out there are going to be the E10 ethanol blends. It's supposed to be "better" for the environment, but it doesn't actually save you any gasoline... in most cars, it actually produces more pollution. I'll explain.
There is a reason that ethanol fuels like E10 are cheaper than the real stuff... It's not as energy-dense as 100% pure, ethanol-free, regular unleaded gasoline, and if you pay attention to your fuel mileage, you'll see the difference.
E10 is cheaper than regular unleaded because it isn't as "powerful" as regular unleaded. On average, it's about 10% cheaper and most vehicles will see an average 10% reduction in their mileage because of it... So even though it's cheaper, you're still going to use the exact same amount of gasoline per mile, meaning you'll fill up more often. Add to that, with ethanol fuel in most (not all) vehicles, you're just now adding 10% of additional exhaust into the atmosphere thanks to that ethanol.
Don't read that and think I'm bashing ethanol-gasoline... In flex-fuel-designated vehicles specifically designed for it, it's fantastic, especially in that rare E85 designated engine... but tossing it into your average, run-of-the-mill standard unleaded designed petrol engine will cause a diminishing effect on your vehicles economy. At least that's what the petrochemical engineers told me when we talked with them last time fuel skyrocketed in 2014.
Drive Yourself Mild
I've never forgotten the words of the uncle that taught all of us kids how to ride motorcycles growing up. When he was talking to you about how to race and how to win, he'd say things like "Fast is slow, smooth is fast." The same can be said about your commute.
The only thing you can accomplish by racing every other car on the road to the next red light is wasting gas and being unanimously thought of as a Karen or Jared by your surrounding drivers. What is the point of being first to wait? Instead, ease up a little bit and try to keep your momentum going. You may be going slower than others, but if you never have to stop, you're winning the fuel efficiency race.