It's the unexpected costs of college that can kill your wallet -- like gas prices. "The price of gas just keeps going up, and you can't really budget for it," says Sarah Glass, a senior at MidAmerica Nazarene University in Olathe, Kan. "When the pump stops, I look at the price and think, 'Did I really just pay $60 to fill up a Corolla when I used to pay $20?'" Fuel costs don't have to break the bank. Here are five ways to save money on gas.
1. Park it
The easiest way to save on fuel (along with parking and car maintenance) is to limit driving. Many schools offer free intercampus shuttle services, and others bus students to and from local apartment complexes. If your ride isn't free, your campus might help subsidize it. Schools located in urban areas frequently offer students discounted city subway and bus passes. Once you park it, walking around campus can't hurt either.
"I drive to school every day," says Eva Bickley, a freshman at Auburn Montgomery in Alabama. Bickley, like many students, also drives to her job on campus and to her extracurricular activities. Carpooling with just one friend can cut gas costs in half. Schools such as University of Texas at Austin sweeten the deal by providing prime parking spaces and reduced parking permit fees for students who share rides. To find out if your school offers carpooling incentives, check with your institution's office for parking affairs.
3. Use Ride Boards
If you are heading out of town, take someone with you. The savings add up quickly. Many campuses have ride boards that connect student drivers with others headed to popular destinations. Sites such as eRideShare.com and Craigslist also connect travelers.
4. Compare Prices
There's an app for that. Check out apps that help you find the lowest price on gas in your area. GasBuddy.com and their app of the same name are free and can save you anywhere from 20 to 40 cents per gallon.
5. Easy on the Pedal
Drive slowly and safely. Your fuel costs and auto insurance premiums will decrease. According to a study by Edmunds, drivers who slowly accelerate and decelerate can knock as much as 37% off fuel costs. The study also reports that the faster you drive, the more gas you burn. Going the speed limit saves drivers an average of an additional 12% on fuel.