If you are planning a cross-country road trip, you probably want to do everything you can to cut costs. There are so many expenses involved in the journey, from accommodation to activities to food, that you need to be careful not to go over budget and cut your trip short. But the most significant cost of a long car journey is almost always the fuel.
Gasoline is essential for powering your car to get you from A to B, and there’s no way to avoid it. Of course, you could spend thousands of dollars on an electric vehicle, or sacrificing your independence and privacy by taking public transport, but this isn’t in the spirit of the road trip.
Fortunately, if you’re worried about the financial outlay of your trip, there are many things you do to reduce your fuel costs. Here are five tips to get you started.
Plan your journey
The higher your mileage, the more you’ll end up having to spend on fuel. You may be tempted to drive off into the sunset without a plan, but this isn't the most economical option in terms of fuel. By planning your route precisely, you can ensure your trip is more efficient, so you won’t squander fuel on an unnecessarily long journey. Make sure one of your passengers helps you with the navigation so you don't get lost and have to backtrack.
Over the course of a cross-country car journey, the way you drive can have a huge effect on the amount of fuel you use. Many drivers adopt bad habits over time so it’s worth rethinking your driving to save a bit of money. Take some time to read up on fuel-efficient driving techniques that will consume less gasoline. For example, you should accelerate gradually, coast to decelerate, maintain a constant speed, and never idle when stationary.
Find cheaper fuel
Gas stations on highways and busy roads always mark up their fuel prices, as drivers on long journeys will rarely have the time to be picky. But gas stations in urban areas almost always have cheaper fuel. When planning your route, factor in some detours through small towns so you can fill up on low-priced gasoline. And if you see some unexpectedly cheap fuel on the way, it might be a good idea to top up.
The more weight you take with you, the greater the drag on your vehicle and subsequently the more fuel you use. Only pack what you really need for your road trip and leave everything else at home.
Prepare your vehicle
Older and poorly-maintained vehicles generally have a lower fuel economy. You can increase yours by taking it in for a full service before you embark on your trip. Checking the oil levels and keeping the tires inflated to the correct pressure will make a huge difference.
Following these five tips will enable you to save money on your fuel costs and stick to your budget for the duration of your trip. Just remember not to fret too much over fuel, and let yourself relax so you can enjoy your adventure.