The Simple Driving Hack That Saves Money On Road Trips

The effects of inflation have been challenging, to say the least. With the cost of living continuing to increase, many hopeful travelers are looking for ways to cut costs. According to a recent Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) report, prices around the globe rose 7.4% in 2023. Increasing gas prices are helping to fuel inflation in March, according to CPI index reports. So far in April, gasoline prices in the United States have averaged about $3.63 per gallon. Unfortunately, those prices are projected to continue to rise. If experts are correct, it may be an expensive summer for drivers in the United States.

If you're in the process of planning your summer vacation or aching to get out and travel as the weather grows warmer, you'll want to budget for potentially high gas prices. Thankfully, there's no need to sacrifice your summer trip just because prices are on the rise. Road trips are still the perfect way to travel and the most cost-effective way to travel short distances. There are plenty of easy ways to save money when you hit the road, even with rising prices. Saving money on your road trip can be as simple as changing your driving style. For a wallet-friendly vacation, it's crucial that you keep your driving controlled and your speed steady. With some extra care, you don't have to eliminate the joys of traveling.

Keep calm and drive on

Studies show that when you drive aggressively, you burn more fuel. You should ensure that you're making the most of your gasoline to save money. Behaviors like speeding, accelerating quickly, and braking often can end up costing you a lot of money over the duration of a road trip. The more you accelerate, the more fuel you burn. When you need to accelerate, press on the gas pedal gently to save gas. Slamming on the brakes can also burn more gas, as it requires more fuel to get going again. Instead, keep a reasonable following distance between you and other vehicles of at least three seconds. When you approach stop signs or stop lights, let your car slowly coast to a stop instead of waiting until the last minute to press on the brakes. Finally, keep a steady speed as much as possible. Cars get a better mile-per-gallon ratio on the highway than in the city because the speed is more constant, whereas all the stopping and going during city driving burns more fuel. Keep your speed level whenever possible to save on gas. Cruise control is a great tool and can save you up to 14% on gas.

Watching your driving behaviors during your road trip is an excellent hack that can save you tons of money. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, it can actually lower your fuel economy by 15-30%. That translates to more money in your wallet that you can use for exciting attractions and activities during your trip.

Other tips for saving fuel and money on your next road trip

This year, you may choose to stick closer to home and enjoy some budget-friendly travel options like camping at some beautiful national parks. Road tripping can still be a cost-effective way to travel. To save even more money during your road trip, consider carpooling. Why not invite some friends or family members along for the journey? The more, the merrier when you can divide the cost of gas between multiple people. If you're traveling solo, you can sign up for the HOVR app, which allows you to find other people traveling in the same direction to help share the cost of gas with you. Not only is carpooling cost-effective, but it's also environmentally friendly because it helps reduce pollution.

Apps like the popular road trip tool Waze and Gas Guru are helpful in finding the most affordable gas along your route by comparing the prices of multiple gas stations. Keep in mind that gas stations off major highways often charge more for gasoline. If you absolutely have to stop at an expensive gas station, pump only as much as you need to until you can go to a more affordable gas station to fill up.

Of course, before any road trip, basic vehicle checks for safety are essential. Ensuring that you have the proper tire pressure and that your vehicle is in good shape can also help you use less fuel to save money, and feel safer on the road.