Consumers Can Save $1,000 in 6 Months With Bills.com's Gas-Saving Tips

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7 ways to drive smarter can put big bucks in American wallets

With oil reaching a new record high last week, Americans today spending more than 5 percent of their income on gasoline, and prices topping $4 a gallon this summer, saving money on gas is top of mind for many consumers -- and Bills.com's Ethan Ewing has seven ways to save $1,000 or more by the end of the year.

Fortunately, many steps, large and small, can help cut driving costs. Ewing's suggestions - based on an average price of $4 a gallon - could help consumers save more than $1,000 during the next six months.

1. Drive less. Look at alternatives to driving, such as using public transit, walking, bicycling or carpooling. Six-month savings: Carpooling on even a four-mile daily commute (where each person drives five times a month) could save $192.

2. Drive a more efficient vehicle. Not everyone can rush out to buy a hybrid, and that might be just as well. The auto industry anticipates many more fuel-efficient vehicles rolling off production lines starting next year. First, consumers can look at their own driveways and choose the most efficient vehicle for as much of their driving as possible. Six-month savings: Choosing to drive a compact sedan instead of an SUV for just 20 miles weekly could save $90.

3. Use regular gasoline. Unless a vehicle truly cannot function well on basic gasoline, forego premium products for the basic. Six-month savings: For a household using 90 gallons of gasoline a month, savings could total $54.

4. Keep it steady. Avoid aggressive driving, such as fast starts and stops and speeding. Recently, the driving experts at Edmunds.com found that driving moderately can improve gas mileage by up to 37 percent. Stay below the speed limit -- and under 65 on freeways -- and ease up on the gas pedal when not accelerating. Six-month savings: For someone who typically uses 90 gallons of gas a month, improving mileage by 37 percent -- from 15 miles per gallon to 20 mpg -- could save more than $600 over a six-month period.

5. Do not speed. As noted above, speeding burns more gas. In addition, it risks a speeding ticket. In addition to fines, tickets can add thousands to annual auto insurance bills, exacerbating the pain of transportation costs today. Six-month savings: One in six drivers gets a ticket every year. Avoid one and save about $150.

6. Move. If the vehicle will be idle for longer than a minute, turn off the engine. Six-month savings: Eliminating 15 minutes of idling daily will save $14.

7. Maintain. Follow the car's recommended maintenance schedule with regular oil changes, fuel filter changes and air filter changes. Inflate tires to the recommended pressure to improve gas mileage and extend the life of the tires. Six-month savings: Hard to calculate, but most drivers could recoup the cost of two oil changes, or around $50.

"The entire nation is facing a challenging time when transportation cuts heavily into our budgets," Ewing said. "By taking advantage of the elements you can control, you can make a big difference in your car costs -- and keep more than $1,000 in your wallet."

About Bills.com
Based in San Mateo, Calif., Bills.com (http://www.bills.com) is a free one-stop portal where consumers can educate themselves about complex personal finance issues and comparison shop for products and services including credit cards, debt relief assistance, insurance, mortgages and other loans. As the online portal to Freedom Financial Network, LLC, the company has served more than 40,000 customers nationwide since 2002 while managing more than $1 billion in consumer debt. Its RSS feed is available at http://www.bills.com/news_releases/.

In 2008, Entrepreneur Magazine ranked Bills.com as the No. 3 fastest-growing U.S. company on its Hot 100 list. Bills.com also was named a finalist as "most innovative company" in the American Business Awards in 2008. Company co-founders and co-CEOs Andrew Housser and Brad Stroh were named to the Silicon Valley/San Jose Business Journal's "40 Under 40" list in 2008, and are recipients of the Northern California Ernst & Young 2008 Entrepreneur of the Year Award.

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Aimee Bennett

Ethan Ewing
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