Four Ways To Cut Gas Spending

Saudi Arabia has called for a meeting of countries that produce and consume oil to discuss ways of dealing with high energy prices. What could this weekend's summit mean to American consumers at the gas pump? (Producer: TBD ) iStockphoto

By now, most people have gotten used to fueling up their car for over $4 a gallon. That's a steep jump from a year ago, or even from where gas prices stood six months ago.

For most, paying these higher prices means that there's less left over for other purchases. But this doesn't have to be the case. Consider these tips from Don Patrick, managing director of Integrated Financial Group in Atlanta, on how to cut your gas spending:

Use the Internet.
While it may be tempting to drive from station to station looking for the best price, this is ultimately counterproductive. You will end up losing more from wasted gas than on the few pennies you may save on a slightly better price. So before you get in your car, research prices online. One Web site to refer to is gasbuddy.com, which will help you find the cheapest price near you.

Drive efficiently.
Cars operate more efficiently when they're driving in the range of 55 to 65 miles per hour. Driving at these speeds will also reduce the need to brake and accelerate constantly, which wastes fuel. Another idea to keep in mind is to only run the air conditioning at faster speeds. When you're stuck in traffic, turn the AC off and roll down the windows.

Cut down your carbon footprint.
Whenever possible, ride a bike or walk. If there are people from your office who live near you, try to set up a carpool. You'll still get to your destination, only with less money spent on gas.

Buy a more fuel-efficient car.
There are many fuel-efficient cars on the market now, including hybrids and smaller cars. You can refer to the U.S. Department of Energy's Fuel Economy site, fueleconomy.gov, or the EPA's Green Vehicle Guide, epa.gov/greenvehicles, for information on which vehicles get the best gas mileage. Also, keep an eye out for promotions from car manufacturers. Some manufacturers and dealers are offering guaranteed fixed rates on gas or even free gas for a year or two when you buy a new car.
By Marshall Loeb
  • Tucker Reals

    Tucker Reals is the CBSNews.com foreign editor, based at the CBS News London bureau.

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