How To Keep Your Gas Costs Down When Driving Lyft Or Uber
When it comes to Uber and Lyft expenses, buying gas is usually at the top of the list. While Lyft has recently started helping drivers out in the gas price department, it’s still important to improve your fuel economy whenever and wherever you can.
Gas prices move around a lot during the year, even from one day to the next. During the summer, gas prices tend to be higher. However, you may have noticed that while prices tend to drop in winter, your overall gas expenses aren’t always lower. The reason is that in winter (unless you live in a warm winter climate), average vehicles get 10%-22% worse mileage. If you have a hybrid, the drop off is over 30%.
Most of this has to do with environmental factors. When it’s cold, the air is denser which results in more drag, especially on the highway. Heating up your engine in the morning lowers your fuel economy. Also, cold air lowers your tire pressure, which increase rolling resistance. This not only lowers your mileage, but increases tire tread wear.
Cold weather also decreases battery performance. This is why hybrids get worse mileage in the winter. Hybrids use a regenerative braking system to increase mileage. Lower battery performance means the regenerative braking system doesn’t perform as well.
While these problems go away when it warms up, summer also brings higher gas prices. Most people assume it’s because people drive more. While people do drive more in the warmer months, that’s not why gas prices are higher.
Why Are Gas Prices Higher In Summer?
The reason has to do with the type of gas that is sold during different times of year. From mid-September to May 1st, gas stations sell a winter blend of gasoline. From May 1st to mid-September, they sell a summer blend. Gas prices are higher in the summer because summer blend gas is more expensive to make. However, the gas burns much cleaner than winter blended gas, which helps reduce pollution, and especially smog, during the summer months.
No matter what kind of vehicle you drive or what season it is, there are steps you can take to squeeze more miles out of every single gallon you buy.
Gas Saving Tips For Uber And Lyft Drivers
Some of these fuel saving techniques are simple and easy. You may already be doing some of them. Others will take some effort and a bit of investment upfront. The good news, however, is that these small investments now can pay big dividends in the future, saving you far more in fuel, keeping your engine healthy, and helping you drive more efficiently.
- Lighten the load. This is perhaps the simplest way to save money on gas. Every pound you remove from the trunk and passenger cabin is one less pound you have to haul around, so clear out some space and enjoy a more fuel efficient ride.
- Reset your gas cap. If your gas cap is loose or not properly seated, you are allowing gas fumes to escape into the air. This will reduce your fuel economy. Take a few minutes to check the seal on your gas cap, tightening it until it clicks into place.
- Don’t let your car idle too long and don’t drive around unnecessarily. If you don’t have a passenger in the car and you’re in an area where you’re likely to get a request, pull over and turn the car off if you can (parking lot or standing zone).
- Let your car drift up to stop signs. Instead of stepping on the brakes when you get there, let your car slow down as you approach the stop sign. You will use less fuel and experience less wear and tear on your brakes. It also makes for a smoother ride for passengers.
- Accelerate slowly. When you stop at a stop sign or red light, pull out slowly and cautiously. Slower and more careful acceleration are better for your safety – and your fuel economy.
- Watch your speed. Driving too fast can really take a toll on your fuel economy, so stick to the speed limit.
- Use cruise control where you can. Driving at a consistent speed is good for your fuel economy, so use your cruise control whenever it is practical to do so. If your car is equipped with adaptive cruise control, you may be able to engage it even while driving in heavy traffic.
- Use the right oil. Simply using the proper weight oil can reduce your fuel consumption, so check your owner’s manual and stock up on the right oil. Be sure to change the oil at the recommended intervals – doing so retains the lubricating qualities your engine needs. You may even want to consider switching to synthetic oil. Synthetic oil cause less wear and tear on the engine (less friction), which will keep your engine healthier longer.
- Buy a tire pressure gauge and keep your tires inflated. Driving on under-inflated tires is dangerous, and also bad for your fuel economy. Keep your tires properly inflated – and check the pressure every time you gas up.
- Change your air filter. A dirty air filter will make your engine less efficient, and that means lower fuel economy. Check your air filter regularly, and get a new one if it is clogged or dirty.
Also, consider getting a Costco membership and download the free GasBuddy app. While the Costco membership costs $60, buying gas there can save you up to $0.30 per gallon. You can use the GasBuddy app to find the cheapest gas around your location.