It is just before Christmas and people are hitting the road to visit friends and relatives. To help save money on fuel after spending so much on gifts, here are some easy tips for driving more efficiently, which is not only safer, but less expensive and better for the environment.

  1. Slow your roll: Aggressive driving, such as speeding and rapidly accelerating or braking, wastes gas and can lower your mileage by 5% to 33%. While the speed for optimal fuel economy ranges with each vehicle, gas mileage usually decreases rapidly at speeds above 50 miles per hour (mph). In fact, every 5 mph you drive over 50 mph is like paying an additional 24 cents per gallon for gas, depending on the price for gas in your area. To find out how much speedy driving is costing you, check out this new speed penalty tool.
  2. Clean out your trunk: Of course it is unavoidable that you are going to be hauling gifts and possibly other people with you. But before heading out loose the extra unneeded weight in your car.  Extra weight can cost you in lost fuel efficiency—fuel economy decreases by up to 2% for every extra 100 pounds in your vehicle, and the extra weight generally affects smaller vehicles more than larger ones. Besides, this will help make room for the things you need for the trip. 
  3. Avoid needless idling: It can be tempting to keep your car on and idling as you wait in a parking lot or the driveway, but you can save money and reduce pollution by just turning the engine off when parked. Idling can use a quarter to a half gallon of fuel per hour, depending on the vehicle’s size and whether the air conditioner is being used. Burning that extra fuel can really add up over time if you’re not careful!

The cost savings above assume gasoline price of $3.19 per gallon. For more fuel-efficient driving tips or to customize these savings based on the price for gasoline in your area, visit