5 Ways To Increase Your Gas Mileage

By Katherine Palbom for Geico

Filling up gas tank

With gas prices fluctuating daily, drivers need to get the most out of every tank. And with simple fuel-saving tips, tricks and maintenance checks, you can learn to stretch your fill-up to the fullest.

  1. Ditch the Clunker

According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, fuel efficiency has improved as new, more efficient vehicles were designed over the past 10 years. In fact, domestic light-duty vehicles got an average of 35.5 MPG in 2013 compared to an average of 29.1 MPG in 2003. Choosing a newer, more fuel-efficient vehicle can save you thousands in the long run, both in dollars and minutes spent at the pump.

  1. Save with Safety

Making small safety changes to your daily driving habits adds up in your tank, your wallet and your well-being. Fast acceleration and hard braking lower gas mileage by up to 33% on the highway and 5% in a city, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. Keep a lid on aggressive driving and travel with zen-fueled efficiency.

  1. Drop the Excess Weight

Rooftop cargo containers are a great help on family trips. But these space-savers create wind resistance, which makes your car work harder and burn up to 17% more fuel on the highway. Excess weight in the trunk also sucks up fuel unnecessarily at a rate of 1% for every 100 pounds. Leave empty or unused cargo containers at home and clear out clutter for a smoother ride and steeper savings.

  1. Minimize Winter Driving

Did you know your car is less fuel-efficient in cold weather? Warming a car takes a lot of gas and can drain your tank before you even hit the road. Most manufacturers recommend warming your car for just 30 seconds and driving off slowly rather than long, idling warm-ups. Try parking your car in the garage to keep the engine warmer and combine trips and errands in the colder months.

  1. Maintenance: Pay Now, Save Later

Staying up to date on regular vehicle maintenance keeps your car more fuel-efficient. Regular oil and filter changes keep cars running in the fuel-efficient zone. Tires that are properly inflated reduce drag and won’t have your engine working overtime, increasing your gas mileage and lowering carbon emissions.

Fuel, money, or time, GEICO believes in the power of saving. Visit our Saving section on GEICO More for great practical tips and advice.

The Importance of Renters Insurance

As Published by GEICO Insurance

Spend now or save for later? It’s an age old dilemma that hits closer to home now more than ever because of the recent economic downturn. While deciding against buying a 52″ plasma television or postponing your Hawaiian dream vacation can be sound financial decisions, one corner we suggest not cutting is purchasing renters insurance.

Imagine coming home from work to find your apartment broken into and completely ransacked—gone are your expensive stereo system and fine china. Or even worse, suppose you return from a long weekend only to discover there was a fire in your kitchen. You can’t assume your landlord will pay for your damaged or lost possessions. In fact, you can probably assume they won’t. You’ll need a renters insurance policy to help recoup your losses.

Unfortunately, renters insurance often falls under the radar. Approximately 80% of renters do not carry renters insurance. That’s a staggering number considering a typical policy only costs between $150 and $300 a year—depending on where you live. For this reason alone, renters insurance is an excellent idea for anyone who rents a home.

How much coverage do you need?

The first step in purchasing a renters insurance policy is adding up the cost of everything you would want to replace if it were damaged or stolen—including clothing, electronics, furniture and appliances. Write down the serial numbers of appliances and electronics. In case of a fire, keep a copy of the list somewhere outside your home (at work, perhaps). You also may also take photos or make a videotape of your most valuable items. That will make it easier to make a claim on them if they are lost or stolen.

Something else to take into consideration is “actual cash value” (ACV) or “replacement cost coverage” for your belongings. As the name implies, ACV coverage will pay only for what your property was worth at the time it was damaged or stolen. With an actual cash value policy, if a tree falls through your window and destroys your computer that cost $2,500 when it was new four years ago but is now only worth $1,000, you will only receive $1,000 (minus your deductible) for the damaged item. Replacement cost coverage, on the other hand, will pay what it actually costs to replace the items you lost. Replacement cost coverage will cost you more in premiums, but it will also pay out more if you ever need to file a claim.

What else is covered?

Personal Liability Coverage provides protection for you, the renter, and anyone who may visit your home or apartment in case of an accident. If a person who is visiting you is injured in some manner, you will not be held liable for the injuries. If necessary, your policy may even pay for your legal defense in these circumstances.

Loss of Use/Temporary Housing will cover you if your home or apartment is rendered unlivable by a fire or other disaster. Generally, this coverage provides temporary housing while your residence is repaired or rebuilt.

Car Interior – Many renters insurance policies also cover possessions that you keep in your car (CDs, books, portable computer equipment). Note that the car’s value itself is not covered, and typically installed stereo equipment (which is often considered “part” of the car’s systems) is not insured either.

What’s not covered?

Earthquakes, flood and landslide protection is not commonly included on rental insurance policies. If you live in an area where these natural disasters are common, coverage for your personal possessions lost in one of the aforementioned occurrences must be purchased as add-ons or via separate insurance policies altogether.

Getting Started

Ready to purchase a renters insurance policy? We’ve got good news for you—GEICO can help. Call us at 1-800-841-2964 to speak with a licensed insurance agent or get an online renters insurance quote.

The above is meant as general information and as general policy descriptions to help you understand the different types of coverages. These descriptions do not refer to any specific contract of insurance and they do not modify any definitions expressly stated in any contracts of insurance. We encourage you to speak to your insurance representative and to read your policy contract to fully understand your coverages.

Help Extend the Life of Your Vehicle

As Published by GEICO

As our population has continued to grow and more and more people are being forced to relocate to suburbia, average commute times have sky-rocketed. A recent national study revealed that commuters in large metropolitan areas like New York City, Los Angeles and Chicago spend nearly an entire work week each year sitting in traffic to and from their jobs. The average American spends 25.1 minutes a day—each way—driving to and from work.* It’s safe to say the days of the 10-minute work commute are gone.

If you’re one of these unlucky commuters and telecommuting, carpooling and/or public transportation aren’t realistic options, here are a few tips that may extend the life of your car and help you spend less on gas by making your vehicle more fuel-efficient.

Be conscious

Avoid sudden starts and stops and observe the speed limit. Erratic acceleration and quick braking uses more fuel than driving in a smoother fashion. Plus, the wind resistance caused by driving fast costs you money. For every 5-mph you drive over the 60 mph mark, you add a dime to the price of every gallon of gas you buy.

Stay in tune

Keep the car as well tuned as you possibly can. A poorly tuned engine can increase fuel consumption by up to 50 percent! Getting regular tune-ups, maintenance, and having clean air filters will help you burn less gas, pollute less, and prevent car trouble down the line. Using the right grade of oil for your car can also help ensure it runs smoothly in all types of weather.

To inflate or not to inflate? That is the question.

A phenomenal 36% of cars are driven with tires below the recommended psi (pounds per square inch). Check your tire pressure regularly with a tire gauge to make sure they’re in line with what your manufacturer recommends. If you drive on wheels that are under-inflated your car’s fuel efficiency will be reduced by up to 2 percent for each pound that the tires are under-inflated.

Chill out on chilling out

Stop using the AC so much! Your vehicle’s air conditioner uses power generated by the engine, so only use it when necessary for short periods. Parking in the shade and using a reflective windshield shade will help keep your car cool on hot days. If your car is too hot to drive, simply roll down the windows and let it air-out before hitting the road. On the other hand, driving with your windows down reduces the aerodynamics of your car and increases fuel consumption, so on summer road trips try to strike a happy medium.

Get the junk out of your trunk

Avoid carrying extra weight in your car. Extra weight saps your fuel economy, so unless you’re planning on playing that day, leave those golf clubs at home.

Got a new car with less than 15,000 miles on it? Be sure to add Mechanical Breakdown Insurance (MBI) to your policy to help cover mechanical problems when your new car warranty runs out.