Whether gas prices are up or down, filling the tank should never be about wasting money. You can put an immediate dent in your gas bill by adopting a few energy-saving strategies.

Own a fuel-efficient vehicle: Hands down, nothing will save you more cash at the station than a vehicle designed to make the most of every drop of fuel. If it's time for a trade-in, consider a new hybrid car - you may be eligible for a one-time federal income tax deduction of $2,000.

Maintain your vehicle: Keeping your ride in tip-top shape makes it run more efficiently. Clean your air filters, fill your tires with the right amount of air, adjust the clutch, and make sure it has enough clean engine oil. And, since most vehicles are built for it, fill up with regular unleaded rather than the highest priced gasoline.

Lighten your load: Making your car or truck lighter and more aerodynamic can significantly impact the frequency of your pump visits. Remove unnecessary heavy objects from the interior, and detach unused bike and luggage racks from the exterior.

Drive less: Why drive if you don't have to? Bike, walk, or use public transportation whenever possible. Arrange for car pools to share the cost of fuel, and combine several trips into one.

Drive frugally: Even when you're on the road, you can adopt such gas-saving habits as using the air-conditioner sparingly, closing the windows when traveling at high speeds, and seeking out the flattest terrain with the fewest stops. If your route includes hills, glide down the slopes (when safe). Accelerate slowly when leaving a stop light, drive the speed limit (in the right gear), and if you have it, use cruise control on the open road. Break the warm-up and engine-revving routine - its unnecessary for most cars. Finally, if your vehicle is equipped with a navigation system, use it. Driving in circles wastes gas!

Credit Fact

The Debt's in the Mail – Roughly five billion credit offers were sent to approximately 200 million Americans last year – an average of one offer every other week per individual, and more than one per week for every household.

Further Reading

Thinking about buying a new car or truck? Read "Drive Away With a Deal" located in the Publications section our website. You'll learn how get the lowest possible interest rate, dealer incentives, and a monthly payment that won't bust your budget.