Is your car costing you all that much money? Sure, fuel prices have never been higher, but surely you are not adding to the problem…Right? This article covers some of the many ways that you and your car are adding to your fuel bills without even realizing it. Here is a quick one to get you started.
During the soccer world cup, fuel prices go up because of people flying flags out of their cars. For example, in the United Kingdom, people flying flags from their cars are burning up an extra 1.22 million liters of fuel during the world cup, and that is just in one country. Imagine how much fuel is being wasted in Germany or Brazil, who typically have teams that play all the way through the world cup to the finals.
Having Your Tires Incorrectly Inflated
This is probably one of the most common ways that people lose a lot of fuel money. If your car tires are inflated too much, then it may save you the optimum amount of fuel if you are driving on a safe and dry road. However, overinflating your tires will cause them to wear out more quickly, which is not ideal.
On the other hand, if your tires are underinflated, then they may stick to the road a little better, but they will cost you more in fuel. The worst part is that even having just one underinflated tire, typically from a slow puncture, is almost as wasteful as if they were all underinflated. Added to this, a single tire incorrectly inflated may cause added wear on your other tires, which is one reason why you should rotate your tires annually to even out any uneven wear patterns.
Having Things in Your Car Trunk
This one is so common that a TV show called Top Gear did an experiment to prove how much money people waste on fuel. They proved that having a mustache for a full year, while driving 12,000 miles per year, would cost the average driver an extra £5 (around $7.50) per year in fuel. Top Gear (Series 4, Episode 7).
If that small amount of added weight costs nearly eight dollars in gas per year, imagine how much your extra coats, umbrellas, tools, emergency shoes, your scratchy car blanket and other unnecessary detritus is costing you in fuel. Clear out the things you don’t need in your car trunk, keep your car lighter, and it will save you a lot of extra fuel money.
In addition, if you are the sort of person who tramps things around in their car all day, from their wet running sneakers to their coats, you should seriously consider dropping them off at your house the next time you pull up because they are costing you extra fuel money. We all know that you store your laptop under your car seat, so take it with you before a wily thief breaks in and steals it.
Having Your Tires Incorrectly Balanced
You should be aware that incorrectly balanced tires (also known as tires with poor tracking) are going to cause added wear and tear. Added wear means you have to replace your tires sooner than perhaps you should. However, few people know that incorrectly balanced tires will cost you more in fuel bills. The imbalance in your car means more force is needed to get it moving. That imbalance creates more stress on your car’s engine, so it costs you more money in fuel.
Using the Wrong Types of Fuel Cards
There is a myth that fuel cards have unforgiving demands that make them unusable for all but the largest and most robust businesses. This is not fully true, but there are some fuel card companies out there that have such specific/Draconian restrictions that it feels like a scam. A common one is where you have to buy a certain amount of fuel within a certain amount of time if you want to earn a reward, which is then coupled with the rewards expiring pretty quickly. This means that unless you are a heavy fuel user, you will rarely build up enough reward points to make it worth your while before they expire.
Fuel cards can save you money, but you need to find the right one for you or for your business. Use a fuel card comparison website and pay close attention to the restrictions. Find out where you can buy from, where you cannot, how much you need to buy, and when your rewards or discounts will expire. If you can find the right type of card for you, then you and your circumstances, then you should be fine.