Is your wallet feeling a bit lighter after this holiday season? Start the year off right by saving some money at the pump. We have 10 unexpected ways that are sure to make you feel a little better about all your holiday spending. Keep reading for our first five tips and then check back next week as we finish off the list.

1.  Shop Around

The next time you need to fill up your tank, don’t just automatically drive to the nearest gas station. Instead take some time to research and find the cheapest gasoline prices that are still nearby. Handy smartphone apps like GasBuddy can help to make your search a lot easier. Simply enter your zip code and the app will tell you the cheapest gas around and give you directions to get there.

2. Cruise Control

There is some debate on whether using cruise control actual conserves gas or not, but research leans towards yes. Edmunds conducted a study and found they got up to 14% savings on gas with an average savings of 7% when using cruise control. The exception to this rule however is driving in hilly terrain. Cruise control will try to keep you at the speed you set and will eat of lot of gas trying to do so (see #5)

3.  Drive Steadily

Just like the cruise control rule, driving in a steady manner will save you fuel. Excessive slowing down or speeding up wastes fuel. Also, driving in a zigzag or swaying motion will eat up your fuel because you are covering more ground. Be sure to avoid tailgating. The driver in front of you is unpredictable and can affect your fuel economy if they suddenly slow down.

4. Avoid Construction Zones

Besides slower speeds and unnecessary idling, construction zones can affect your gas mileage due to rough and torn up roads. Uneven dirt and gravel can rob you of up to 30% of your gas mileage. If driving through construction has become a daily task of yours, see if there is another route to your destination. Even if the path is a little longer, it might bring a payoff when it comes to saving gas.

5. Prepare for Hills

Accelerating up a hill uses a lot of gas. Avoid this by preparing for the incline when you see the hill up ahead. As soon as you see a hill is in your path, begin to slowly build up your speed and then maintain it on the upward slope. Coast down the other side for maximum fuel conservation.

Did you enjoy these fuel saving tips? Click here for 10 Unexpected Ways to Save Fuel Part 2.

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