NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) — If you’re going to be hitting the road this holiday weekend or planning a road trip for this summer, you’ll likely be saving money than if you opted to fly.
But why stop there? There are more ways to stretch your dollar on the road and some of them are free. Checking under the hood of your car is not only routine maintenance, it’s a money saver when the summer travel season is upon us.
“Over the course of a year you’re probably saving in fuel a couple hundred dollars,” said Wallingford Buick GMC’s Bryan Colangelo.
If you’re opting to drive over fly, you can stretch your summer travel dollars even further with a few quick checks. Colangelo suggests starting with the chart on the driver’s side door that indicates where your tire pressure should be.
“If the tire pressure is lower, more friction, more drag, more drag will decrease fuel economy,” he said.
Next, you may not realize how your air filter impacts fuel economy, so make sure it’s clear.
“When that filter becomes clogged, less air gets through. When less air gets through, the vehicles computer demands more fuel to be sprayed into the engine. Therefore you’re wasting fuel or using more,” he added.
As you travel, be a smart shopper. Free apps like Gas Buddy can show you where the cheaper gas is along your route. Understand, you’ll likely pay more at the ones visible from the highway and whenever possible, avoid stop and go traffic.
“Anytime you’re increasing or decreasing throttle or pedal response, you’re using fuel,” Colangelo said.
Colangelo says cruise control really will maximize your fuel economy over time.
This last tip seems obvious, but think of how much money you’ll save if you buy all your meals and snacks on the road. Try planning ahead and getting some of that stuff at grocery store prices and bring it with you, then you’ll have some extra money to spend on vacation.