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Guest contribution by David Glenn. Guest contributors to U.S. Green Technology have the opportunity to produce exciting and engaging blogs each week on topics such as green technological invention, new green start-ups, green manufacturing, green building and green jobs.

6 Ways to Keep Your Driving Habits (and Wallet) a Little Greener

In tough economic times, one of the most common challenges is trying to save money while living paycheck to paycheck and paying a lot for your car. From car insurance to repairs that are needed throughout the year, owning a vehicle can add up to thousands of dollars annually and make it difficult to afford other expenses. For those who have limited funds, it can be difficult to find ways to put extra money aside and reduce what is spent on a vehicle. Although it may be difficult to make ends meet, there are a few ways to save money on your car while on a tight budget.

1. Carpool to Work

To reduce you use your vehicle during the week, carpool with coworkers or other people in your area who are headed in the same direction. Ridesharing is increasing in popularity due to the amount of money that is saved and a number of websites that are offering the service. You can also consider doing a carpool with other parents in the neighborhood for an easy way to transport your kids to school without taking them yourself each day.

2. Refinance Your Car

Although it may be difficult to avoid having a car payment, you can lower your monthly payment with auto refinancing. The step can save hundreds of dollars each year simply by transferring your loan to another lender or obtaining a lower interest rate. Those who have improved their credit score in the last year are likely to be approved for refinancing.

3. Check the Tire Pressure

It’s important to check your tire pressure on your vehicle every few days to reduce the amount of fuel that is used while driving. Purchase a tire pressure gauge to measure the pounds per square inch. If the air is lower than what’s recommended for the tires, you can easily refill it at a local gas station for under a dollar. By maintaining this habit, you’ll quickly notice that your fuel lasts longer throughout the week and that you won’t have to fill up as frequently.

4. Shop Around for Gas

Instead of filling up when your fuel light comes on, plan ahead of time and save money by purchasing gas at the cheapest stations in your area. Download a fuel app on your smartphone, which will pull up the lowest price for fuel locally to prevent overspending. You’ll also save more gas by filling up the tank completely, which will prevent having to stop at gas stations more often.

You can even earn cash for the fuel that you purchase by obtaining a credit card that offers rewards each time that you fill up. Sign up for credit cards that offer cash back during the year and a percentage for when you buy gas with the card.

5. Perform Your Own Maintenance

From oil changes to replacing your air filter, there are often repairs and maintenance that are needed throughout the year, which can add up to hundreds of dollars. Perform the repairs yourself by researching online with how to perform the task and finding the right tools that are needed. You can also watch video tutorials for an easy way of learning how to care for your vehicle yourself.

6. Drive Slower

One of the most common ways that fuel is wasted while on the road is by speeding and driving faster than needed. Avoid rapid acceleration and driving faster than 65 miles per hour while on the freeway. When traveling long distances, use cruise control to set your speed and save more fuel.

You can also consider mapping out shorter routes when running errands or combine shopping trips to prevent going out as much throughout the week. Try walking or riding your bike to nearby locations where you don’t necessarily need you to use a vehicle.

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