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Smart driving, vehicle maintenance can compliment low gas prices

Posted on Tuesday, February 17, 2015 at 1:21:39 PM

It seems that 2015 is off to a strong start, with the auto-sales seasonally adjusted annualized rate forecast hitting 16.6 million new units, according to TrueCar. On a yearly basis, January's total could be up more than 13 percent compared to the same time in 2014. Part of this change is related to a stronger economy, but some growth can be attributed to lower gas prices.

However, Home Loan Investment Bank's Christine Dikdan recommended caution when planning for lower gas prices. The trend is still young, which means the safer bet is to budget for a minimum of $3.50 per gallon. As gas prices dip, those extra savings will be a welcomed addition.

On a large scale, fuel efficiency is important no matter the price of gas. You'll want to shop for a car that is good on gas, even if you secure affordable auto financing rates and a low price. According to Dikdan, the smart move is to drive consistently.

"Driving consistently is a winner - no rapid acceleration or sudden braking unless necessary," she explained. "The newer vehicles have a gauge or a digital reader that indicates fuel efficiency information. I have one of these gauges and I was surprised how much this can affect your miles-per-gallon!" 

Another good idea is to keep your vehicle up-to-date on maintenance. This can prevent problems and improve the efficiency of your vehicle.

"Regular vehicle maintenance, such as oil changes, filters and tire pressure, is also very important," Dikdan pointed out. "There are a lot of pieces under the hood and riding on the pavement that need to play well together for best performance and maximizing MPG."

Don't rely on low gas prices alone to save you money. Drive smart, drive safe and keep your vehicle maintained in order to see those costs continue to decline.