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How Can I Save Gas on a Road Trip?

The national average cost of gas is far higher than a few years back. As a result, people are investigating ways to cut down on gas usage, and if you’re planning a road trip, you can make your ride more efficient by using fuel-saving strategies.

With that being said, let’s run over different ways that you can save gas on a road trip. 

With proper preparation, it’s possible to save a considerable amount of gas during a road trip. You can do this by using mobile applications that show the quickest route to your destination, staying mindful of your driving speed, traveling light, and properly inflating car tires.

Use mobile apps

Mobile applications can help you to save a notable amount of gas and money over the long run by finding the most effective driving routes and offering cash back at fueling stations.

Google Maps

The Google Maps app is the leading go-to app when looking for road maps and directions. 

It calculates travel time based on your GPS data, estimating movement speed and speed of traffic in real-time, road conditions, and traffic patterns.

It does this for multiple routes, and as a result, you can accurately rely on this to show you the shortest route for your journey, which can prevent you from being stuck in idle traffic and help with cutting down gas usage. 

Gas-saving apps

When in need of a gas station, by using apps like GasBuddy, you can quickly locate those nearby, save on gas usage, and also find the best prices in the area. 

Then, when you’ve finished pumping gas, you can use the prepaid GasBuddy fuel card to pay, which can save you 0.5-40 cents per gallon.

Additionally, the app allows you to complete challenges, earn points, and redeem them through entering a daily prize draw, with the chance to win a $100 gas card!

Drive the right car

When considering the vehicle you’re going to use for your road trip, if you have different options available, then choosing the right one for your journey can save on gas usage. 

For instance, if you have an SUV or a camper van and need to use it, then fine, but if you have a smaller car option available, and can comfortably fit everything you need inside, then use this instead. Over a long journey, you’ll have a smaller tank to fill, and will have to fill it less often this way.

The same applies to car rental companies offering you larger vehicles. They may look like the type of vehicle you’ll need on a road trip, but ask yourself, do I need all this space?

To help work things out, take into consideration the number of people you’re traveling with and how much space you’re going to use up. 

Properly inflated tires

It’s important to take the time to make sure your tires are properly inflated before setting off on your journey.

For every one drop in PSI from the average pressure of your tires, fuel efficiency lowers by roughly 0.2%, which equals more gas being used, and unnecessary spending.

To avoid this, read your car user manual or research your car model and correct tire pressure online, and properly inflate your tires to the recommended guidelines before your trip.

This will save on fuel while increasing the life of your tires.

Steady driving

It’s widely agreed that driving at a steady speed of 40-50 mph can save more than 10% on fuel usage over the long run when compared to driving at faster speeds or on uneven terrain.

Of course, on busy highways, it’s not practical to drive this slow, even on the slow lane, so instead, after accounting for distance, if there’s an option to use the interstate highway vs. a scenic route, then the scenic route may be a better option, as you’ll be able to maintain a steady speed and cut down on the fuel used.

Cruise control

When driving on flatter terrain, cruise control can help save on fuel, but if you’re driving in hilly areas, frequently going up and down, then using cruise control can be detrimental to fuel economy, as it aims to maintain an even speed.

In this instance, if you take control of the car and effectively coast your vehicle when going down the hill, as your car naturally increases its speed, you can use this momentum to your advantage, helping to maneuver along the next section of the road, all free of charge. 

So, hold the clutch pedal down, take your foot off the gas, and enjoy the free ride!  

Using air conditioning vs. opening the windows

When questioning if using the air con or opening the windows uses more fuel, there’s a back-and-forth debate. So if you don’t have to do either, then you’ll save on gas. 

If you do need to choose, then research suggests that if you’re exceeding 50mph, then use the aircon, and if traveling below a speed of 50 mph, open the windows.

To explain further, at speeds greater than 50 mph, opening the windows causes excess drag on the car, using more gas than using the aircon will. But at speeds below 50 mph, opening the windows won’t cause this drag effect, so using the aircon will put extra stress on the engine, burning more fuel.

Travel with essentials

Extra weight equals extra fuel usage, so before your road trip, it’s good to stop and think about what items you’re taking with you in the car and if they are needed.

If you’re taking something on autopilot, then stop to consider if you’re going to use it. By adopting a minimalist approach and traveling light, you’ll save on gas. 

Also, if you have items already placed in the car that you don’t need, remove them. 

Lastly, avoid overpacking your luggage, and one way to do this is to think through how many days you’re going to be spending on your road trip and pack accordingly. 


If you’re serious about cutting down on fuel usage throughout your road trip, then with the right approach, you can effectively do so.

Think smart, pack to your needs, and use mobile applications to locate the fastest route and cheaper fueling stations.

Not only will you use less gas, but you’ll be more organized and have a smoother driving experience.