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Aaron Gold

Save money on your Thanksgiving drive

By November 20, 2012

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When it comes to road trips, I'm a maven for getting the best MPG possible. Does it make a difference? Maybe not a huge one; if you bump up your fuel economy by 2.5 MPG (which is not difficult to do), you'll save between $5 and $10 on a 500 mile trip. But think about it this way: If ten million Americans saved just half a gallon each way on their holiday drive, we'd save as much crude oil as we import from Libya in a week. (And we'd have extra money to blow on snacks!)

Here are five ways that you can cut down your fuel consumption (and potentially save a lot more than half a gallon):

  1. Check your tire pressure before you go. The air pressure in your tires drops when the weather gets cold, and low tires waste a lot of fuel.
  2. Take the smaller car. Most two-car families use their bigger car on trips -- but do you really need all that space? If you can take your more fuel-efficient vehicle, the savings can be significant.
  3. Plan your drive times around traffic. We all know how bad the traffic can be the Sunday after Thanksgiving. If you can take Monday off, you'll avoid a lot of traffic -- and smooth sailing means better MPG. (Be wary of driving at night, though -- you're more prone to have an accident, and safety should always trump savings.)
  4. Drive the speed limit (or as close as you can manage). Fuel consumption rises exponentially with speed. Driving the limit doesn't add that much time, but it saves a lot of fuel -- and it's nice not having to worry about cops and speed traps.
  5. Fuel where it's cheapest. Gas at your destination might be cheaper -- or a lot more expensive. I have a (free) app on my phone called Gas Buddy that shows fuel prices by area, and I can usually save a few bucks by tanking up across the state line.

Got any fuel tips you'd care to share? Click the Comments link below. Have a safe drive and a great Thanksgiving! -- Aaron Gold

More fuel saving tips

November 21, 2012 at 11:56 am
(1) Nicole says:

It may not seem like much, but try to limit your stops and plan them for less congested areas. Slowing down, sitting at lights, waiting your turn in the drive-thru, all that burns a lot of fuel. Sometimes having kids, stopping at every rest area can’t be avoided, but don’t idle your car while waiting for everyone to make their restroom visit.

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