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Cars are a universal symbol of freedom – the freedom to travel when and where we want. They’re something we aspire to own and take pride in keeping well-maintained. However, freedom comes at a cost: the reality of the financial burden that a car entails is a very real part of life. Everything comes at a price: car washes, oil changes, filling up the gas tank, all of it. These are things that your cargo van needs, and there is simply no way to avoid that without putting your vehicle at risk.  Fortunately, with a little bit of savvy and some good sense, you can help keep those costs more manageable than ever. Here are 10 ways to cut costs and keep you on the road longer.

1.Sensible driving

Some of the quickest ways to burn excess gas are speeding, hard braking and rapid acceleration maneuvers. According to recent research, reckless driving can reduce your mileage by as much as 33% at highway speeds. Save up to $500 a year or about .50 cents a gallon, depending on your driving sense and highway mileage.

2.Cruise control

Gas mileage tends to decrease as soon as your speed hits 50 mph. Therefore, set your cruise control at around 50 mph. To get a clear picture of this, you can assume for every 5 miles you increase beyond the 50 mph limit, you will be paying an extra .20 cents per gallon of gas. Maintaining your cruise control at 50-60 mph on the freeway can save you as much as $200 a year

3. Idling costs

According to a study performed by Argonne National Laboratory, every hour you are idling you’re wasting a whole gallon of gas, while restarting your car only uses a meager .10 cents worth of gas.  If you want to warm up the engine in the winter, there’s a better way to do it: a simple hack is to drive your car slowly for about a minute after starting it. This will get it warmed up much more quickly, because the engine heats up way faster when driven and that helps the heater come on sooner. You can save up to $150 a year if you keep idling time to around 2 hours per week.

4.A/C management

Did you know that, according to research done by Oak Ridge National Laboratory, running the A/C can take up as much as 25% of your car’s fuel economy?   You can experiment with setting the A/C at a higher temperature or even go without it. If you have a convertible, you can take the roof off on a nice summer day and actually save on fuel while enjoying the wind in your hair. Or if you have to use the A/C, try letting the accumulated hot air out the window first before turning on the A/C. If you reduce your A/C usage for about four months out of the year, you can save up to $125 annually.

5.Choosing the right motor oil

Using the wrong motor oil could adversely affect your mileage, lowering it by 1-2% due to increased friction. Always use the manufacturer’s recommended grade of oil to keep the surfaces from grinding against each other. It’s a good idea to use oil that says “energy-conserving” on the label, right on the API performance symbol. This indicates that the oil has anti-friction additives..

Like we said before, there are simply some expenses you can’t avoid when it comes to owning a car. What you can avoid, however, is breaking your wallet. Nothing we’ve talked about requires you to be any kind of mechanical guru. We’re not asking you to tear your car apart and modify the engine to the perfect specifications to make your car run forever. We couldn’t even do that for you if we wanted to. Cars don’t run on fairy dust and hopes. They run on gasoline, oil, and batteries. We know that you know that, though, and chances are if you’re reading this you have some common sense to begin with. All that we’ve suggested here are just a few simple things to consider as you drive on forward (pun fully intended). Really, we hope you find a way to leave a few extra bucks in your pocket.

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