We have all given thought to trying to carpool, taking mass transit, or purchasing a new automobile with better gas mileage to save money. However, the Division of Consumer Protection realizes that many consumers cannot afford to purchase a new car, are not able to utilize mass transit or institute carpooling plans, and have responsibilities which require driving. Therefore, the Division of Consumer Protection is offering New Yorkers some suggestions on how to save money at the gas pump.

Cents at the Pump

WAIT until your gas gauge reads ¼ tank before filling up in warmer weather. Your vehicle gets better gas mileage with a lighter load. Topping off the gasoline can actually waste money.

CHOOSE the lowest octane recommended for your car.

COMPARE the price advertised on the gas station’s sign and on the pump to make sure they are the same. If not, ask which price is the one you would actually be paying.

DOUBLE CHECK that the price per gallon remains the same throughout the entire time you are pumping. Be aware if the price per gallon changes or the number turns back or advances quickly.

MAKE sure that the gas pump reads $0 before you begin fueling and stops running when you finish pumping so you know you are only paying for the gas actually being dispensed into your vehicle. KNOW the size of your gas tank and how many gallons of gasoline it holds so you can make sure you are getting what you are paying for at the pump.

ASK your gas station if they have different prices for payment in cash or credit. Some stations offer gas at several cents less per gallon if you pay in cash.

AVOID filling up right before a holiday or weekend when gas prices tend to be higher.

The Payout

CHECK to make sure the gas pumps you are using have been inspected by the NYS Department of Agriculture and Markets Bureau of Weights and Measures. Weights and Measures officials throughout the State routinely inspect gasoline and diesel fuel pumps. These inspections serve to assure that stations meet appropriate quality standards. Counties also have officials for this purpose to protect consumers.

CONSIDER using a credit or debit card which provides reward points, coupons or other membership benefits for your purchase of gas as long as you will pay your bill in full each month to avoid interest charges. Thus, you will be offsetting your high gas costs with savings in other venues.

On the Road Again

CUT BACK on needless driving around. Make lists of errands and try to have them all in similar locations.

MAINTAIN your vehicle in good condition. Your vehicle will get better gas mileage if you have the oil changed and tire pressure checked regularly. Get a tune-up from a certified mechanic.

CLEAN out your vehicle and carry only what is necessary. Extra weight in your car lessens your gas mileage. Consider removing roof racks and towing devices mounted on the outside of the vehicle when not in use.

CHANGE your driving habits. Your vehicle will get better gas mileage if you do not accelerate fast or overuse your brakes commonly referred to as “riding your brakes.” Consider using cruise control when feasible and do not idle your car in a parking lot or driveway.

Planning and Saving

KEEP a log of what you spend monthly on gasoline so you can see if you are staying within your budget or if you need to cut back elsewhere.

WATCH OUT for scams. Scam artists prey on consumers even more during difficult economic times or when certain commodities become difficult to obtain or ultra expensive as they know people become desperate. Approach alleged fuel saving devices or chemicals with skepticism. Remember that if it sounds too good to be true it probably is!

CONSULT maps, Internet directions or a GPS system so you are less likely to get lost and waste gas and time.