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How to save money as a driver

Three tips to save money as price of gas, insurance and cars continue to rise

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Cars and trucks make their way along the Massachusetts Turnpike Route I-90, in Boston.

In this image taken with a 1.6 second exposure, cars and trucks make their way along the Massachusetts Turnpike Route I-90, in Boston, Wednesday, Nov. 24, 2021, the day before Thanksgiving.

Steven Senned, Associated Press

Prices of goods and services are rising drastically and inflation is becoming a concern for the masses. Necessities such as food, cars, housing and clothing have particularly risen in price.

Drivers, especially, are struggling to keep up with rising costs. Gina Minick at Metromile, a car insurance where you pay-per-mile, said that 58% of Metromile insurance customers are considering different travel options because of high gas prices. “But it’s not just gas prices, it’s things like parking, maintaining our cars, paying for insurance,” Minick said.

“Regardless of how things shake out, and we’re going to see the cost of goods continue to increase over time. It’s really just the rate at how quickly that’s going to go right,” she said. “So, how can we help our customers manage their costs, understand their costs and create transparency around that?”

Minick breaks down a few tips and tricks that can save the everyday driver some money.

Price of gas

As a driver, you often find yourself filling up your gas tank. At Metromile, where total mileage and driver behavior data is gathered through telematics, Minick has observed current trends that can let drivers drive more efficiently instead of “sitting idle” and “wasting gas.” She’s noticed that evening rush hour, between 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. went down by 5% in 2021. “We’re at home and not commuting during those normal working days,” said Minick, and that traffic has bled into the afternoon, between 2 p.m. to 4 p.m.

As for holiday travel traffic trends, “if I had to hypothesize, I’d say this holiday season going into Christmas, we might see even heavier holiday traffic this year than in the past,” she said Driving in the morning or after rush hour is the best time to drive around Christmas time — though Dec. 23 and 24 will be busy afternoons on the road and Dec. 26 will be the slowest day of the week.

Cost of insurance

Minick recommends shopping around for insurance and considering switching. She has seen trends where switching insurance can save consumers money. “For someone who doesn’t drive very much anymore, we found that the consumer can save an average of $741 annually, just by switching to Metromile,” she said.

Cooking at home and working from the bedroom desk has become a norm for many, changing consumption patterns. The key thing to think about is how much you drive. Her company uses telematics data that allow consumers to pay-per-mile, which is ideal for those who don’t drive that often, said Minick. As a consumer, you should find other telematics products and compare the data they collect to your own needs.

Keep your old car

If you have an old car, keeping it is the best way to save on insurance. “When we buy newer cars, those cars are more expensive, and they generally cost more money to insure as well, right? When we have older cars, we might not always have full coverage,” Minick explained. For example, collision coverage can always be avoided on an older car. Auto monthly payments are also less expensive.

Old cars tend to have low payments and low deductibles. So, while shopping for insurance, it may be wise to look at the deductible rates and ask for an increase. But most importantly: “Make sure you’re always covered and have auto insurance.”