gas prices

How to Save Money at the Gas Pump and on Home Energy Costs

NBC Universal, Inc.

Consumers are getting hit hard with energy costs, both at home and on the road.

Drivers are getting a harsh lesson in how geopolitical events and a war halfway around the world can have a direct impact on their wallets. With gas prices at record highs, Consumer Reports has some easy ways to maximize fuel economy by changing how you drive.

Gas stations well off major highways and away from city centers tend to have better prices, as do warehouse stores and some major travel centers.

Apps and websites like GasBuddy, Gas Guru and Waze can help with real-time prices at nearby gas stations. 

Also: Before you hit the road, check your tire pressure. Underinflated tires affect fuel economy, along with performance and handling. If you’re not sure of the proper tire pressure, check the sticker in the doorjamb.

If you have a roof rack, especially an empty one, consider removing it because it cuts down on the aerodynamics of your car, which wastes gas.

Did you know your driving habits can help or hurt your fuel economy? The harder you accelerate, the more fuel you use. The goal should be to drive evenly and anticipate the movement of traffic while obeying the speed limit. Smooth acceleration, cornering and braking help extend the life of the engine, transmission, brakes and tires.

While your car’s heater won’t have an impact on fuel economy, the air conditioner will. So when the weather is nice, roll down the windows and enjoy the breeze.

Save Energy and Money While Doing Laundry

We’re also spending more money on home energy costs these days. As Consumer Reports explains, a few simple, eco-friendly changes (and the right detergent) in the laundry room can help lower your energy bills.

CR says using a high-efficiency washer and dryer is one of the most important things you can do in terms of reducing your energy bills. 

Front-load washers deliver when it comes to cleaning performance, and they use the least amount of water and energy. Among the best and most eco-friendly in CR’s tests is the LG WM3400CW. The matching dryer is the LG DLE3400W. They each cost about $800. 

If you already own a high-efficiency washer and dryer, and your set is working just fine, there are still ways to save. CR’s tests have found that laundry detergents have become much better at removing dirt and stains at lower water temperatures. The top two detergents in CR’s tests are Tide Plus Ultra Stain Release and Persil Pro Clean Stain Fighter. Both can tackle tough stains and can also be used as a pretreat stain remover. 

If you can’t line-dry, you can lower the amount of energy your dryer uses by increasing your washer’s spin cycle. It reduces your dryer’s workload by extracting more water from the clothes, which means less work for your dryer. It might increase wrinkling, but CR says don’t let that stop you. Instead, simply untangle and shake your laundry out before you toss it in the dryer. 

And to keep your dryer running as efficiently as possible, don’t forget to clean the lint screen before every load. 

If you use dryer sheets, know that they can leave a film behind on your dryer’s filter that reduces airflow. They can also leave residue on your dryer’s moisture sensors. Check your owner’s manual on how to clean those sensors. Better yet, skip dryer sheets altogether and reduce your waste!

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