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As gas prices climb, be frugal when buying and driving

Gas prices are soaring closer as trouble pours out of the Middle East. It looks like transportation is going to cost us plenty for at least the near future, but there are ways to cut back on costs. Follow these frugal fuel-consumption tips so you won't have to leave the gas pump with a half-empty tank. Kate Forgach,

Use your smart phone: There are money-saving apps dedicated to trimming travel costs. The GasBuddy app ( will coordinate your location with the best gas prices in your area. Another app worth test driving is CheapGas, which provides precise directions to the nearest and least-expensive gas station.

Shop online: According to a recent study by Carnegie Mellon Green Design Institute, shopping online saves an average of 35 percent in gas consumption. Next time, shop online to cut down on fuel costs. Those who prefer to avoid delivery charges can find plenty of free coupons.

Lay off the lead foot: Zipping through traffic is anything but fuel-efficient. Stick to the speed limit and remember speeds exceeding 40 mph force your vehicle to overcome forceful wind resistance, thus consuming fuel faster. Keep an eye on your odometer for maximum fuel efficiency.

Leave rapid starts to the jack rabbits: Do you race away from stop lights at the speed of Br'er Rabbit? You're wasting a lot of gas just to reach the next stop light a second faster.

Coordinate carpools: Carpooling simply makes sense. Use the Carpicipate app to locate like-minded neighbors or community members interested in sharing rides.

Buy discount gas gift cards: Did you know you don't have to pay full price for a gift card? Sites like offer a diverse selection of discount gas gift cards from various card vendors. Run out of cash on your card? GiftCardGranny offers an alert on newly available discount gift cards, so you'll be notified every time there's a new card available.

Fuel up at warehouse pumps: Filling up at your local warehouse club can save you anywhere from 5 to 10 cents on fuel at surrounding gas stations.

Give generic a go: Buying "off-brand" gas gets your car from place to place in the same shape as fuel from name-brand stations. In fact, it's often the same gas, yet the price can differ by about 20 cents a gallon.

Use low octane: According to NPR's Car Talk, using a higher octane gas when your car doesn't need it is worthless. Check your vehicle's owner's manual to determine how low you can go.

As gas prices climb, be frugal when buying and driving 03/08/11 [Last modified: Tuesday, March 8, 2011 3:30am]
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