For this week’s “Tuesday’s Tips,” the Department of State’s Division of Consumer Protection (DCP) is providing tips to help consumers reduce spending on transportation costs. These tips are part two of DCP’s five-part consumer alert series to help New Yorkers save money amidst inflation and rising costs. Follow the New York Department of State on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram and check in every Tuesday for more practical tips that educate and empower New York consumers on a variety of topics.
“Saving money can be difficult when prices remain high across the board, but there are easy ways to cut costs in every aspect of our daily lives,” said Secretary of State Robert J. Rodriguez, who oversees the Division of Consumer Protection. “Whether commuting to work, running errands or planning a long road trip, following these tips can help New Yorkers lower their transportation costs so they can hold onto more of their hard-earned money and beat back inflation.”
Plan your drives ahead of time. Combine errands into one trip to save time and money. Several short trips taken from a cold start can use twice as much fuel as a longer multipurpose trip covering the same distance when the engine is warm. Trip planning ensures that traveling is done when the engine is warmed up and efficient, and it can reduce the distance you travel saving fuel and wear/tear on your vehicle.
Adjust your driving habits. Always accelerate gently and maintain a steady speed. Avoid aggressive driving (speeding, rapid acceleration and sudden braking), which wastes fuel. It can lower your fuel mileage by 33 percent at highway speeds and by 5 percent around town. Your brakes will appreciate it, too.
Keep your vehicle tuned up. Check the air filter, tire pressure and coolant. Check your vehicle’s manual for the manufacturer’s recommended timeline for oil changes. A poorly maintained car uses more gas and may lead to costly repairs.
Shop around for car insurance. Take time to analyze your insurance premiums and comparison shop for less expensive plans. Consumers can lower insurance premiums by 5% to 20% by bundling services, increasing deductibles and paying up front.
Use public transportation or carpool. It benefits everyone – the community, the environment and your wallet.
Save with pre-tax commuter benefits. Enroll in commuter benefits to pay commuting costs with pre-tax dollars. If your employer offers this benefit, you can set aside a certain portion of pre-tax wages (up to $300 per month), which can be used for mass transit and qualified paid parking while reducing your federal taxable income each year. That means you save by not paying federal income tax on that portion of your salary.
Reserve parking. There are several parking apps in the market that let you reserve parking spaces in advance in large metro areas. This helps you save time, money and gas – no need to circle the block looking for parking. You may be able to score significant savings off the drive-up rate if you reserve a parking space in advance.
About the New York State Division of Consumer Protection
The New York State Division of Consumer Protection provides resources and education materials to consumers on product safety, as well as voluntary mediation services between consumers and businesses. The Consumer Assistance Helpline 1-800-697-1220 is available Monday to Friday from 8:30am to 4:30pm, excluding State Holidays, and consumer complaints can be filed at any time at www.dos.ny.gov/consumer-protection.
For more consumer protection tips, follow the Division on social media at Twitter: @NYSConsumer and Facebook: www.facebook.com/nysconsumer.