September 9, 2011 Posted by: Liann Walborsky
Thinking about taking a road trip with your family during a long weekend? If so, you’re in good company. According to AAA, 27.3 million drivers (87% of all holiday travelers) are expected to do this during the holiday — up slightly from 2010. With gas prices a bit lower than they were a year ago, driving is considered to be more cost-effective than other forms of transportation. While (mostly) true, gas costs can add up — depending on how often and where you load up on fuel. Here are a couple of tips to help you keep costs down.
Carrying a heavy load in your car — on the roof, in the trunk— decreases your car’s gas efficiency. Try to clean out the car before you head out and don’t over pack! Leave behind heavy equipment. After all, for every 100 extra pounds in your car, your MPG is reduced by about 2%.
Leave either early in the morning or in the evening to avoid heavy traffic. Pressing and de-pressing the gas pedal as you drive along, quite literally idles away both your time and gas.
If you do travel during lighter traffic times, be careful not to speed. Believe it or not, when you drive too fast, your car burns gas at a much less efficient level. Every 5 miles over a typical 60 MPH speed limit adds about 30 cents to a gallon of gas.
Sure those roadside rest stops with gas stations, McDonalds, Starbucks and of course restrooms are easy to find and fun to stop at — but you’re paying for this convenience. Gas prices tend to be much higher in gas stations that are “easy on, easy off.” Take the road less traveled and you could easily pay 60 or 70 cents less per gallon. Try to plan out your stops ahead of time. AAA offers a convenient and free TripTik app which shows the closest gas stations and their prices.
Remember, driving for a family vacation can save you money — but you have to know how and where to cut those corners.
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