Wednesday, June 11, 2008
Coping with Soaring Gas Prices
With gas prices at an all-time high, more and more people are looking for ways to reduce their fuel costs. In this newsletter, you’ll find ideas for reducing the amount of gas you use -- and the amount of money you spend.
Driving less ( well duh, ya think? )..lol
The most basic way to spend less at the pump is to reduce the amount of driving you do. Here are some ways to cut back on driving:
Change your summer vacation plans. If your vacation calls for a long road trip, you may want to change plans. Could you travel someplace interesting by train instead? Or, consider planning a vacation at home. Visit local museums or parks, cook out in your backyard, have a party and invite your friends, or just relax at home for a few days and enjoy the time off without the stress of packing, unpacking, and traveling.
Look into public transportation. Taking a bus or train to work could save you hundreds of dollars in gas costs a month. If you don’t have public transportation in your area, see if you can carpool with some co-workers.
Approach your errands strategically. If you have to drive to run errands, try grouping them together to reduce the distance you have to drive and the number of trips you have to make.
Walk whenever you can. Walk to the closest mailbox instead of driving to the post office. Walk to a friend’s house instead of driving. If you can walk to a store, do some errands on foot.
Using gasoline more efficiently
You can also improve your car’s gas mileage through better maintenance and smart driving habits.
Keep your car properly maintained and tuned. A poorly tuned car can use more than 25 percent more gas. Pay special attention to oil changes and replacing your air filter. Both of these have a direct impact on fuel economy.
Check your tire pressure regularly. Properly inflated tires can increase fuel economy by 3 percent or more.
Don’t store heavy gear or items in the trunk. An extra 100 pounds can reduce fuel economy by more than 2 percent.
Avoid idling. Idling wastes fuel and pollutes the air. Don’t leave your car running when you pick up or drop off your child at school or for any other purpose, including going through a fast-food drive-through. You’re better off parking your car and walking into the restaurant.
Drive conservatively. Don’t drive too fast. It takes 20 to 30 percent more gas to drive at 70 mph than 50 mph.
Don’t use your air conditioner in stop-and-go traffic. Air conditioning sucks up gas, so simply roll down the windows whenever you can. However, on the highway open windows can increase air resistance, which can increase gas use, so it’s OK to use the AC when you’re traveling at high speeds.
Look for the cheapest gas. You don’t have to drive around looking for cheap gas. Sites like www.gasbuddy.com can help you locate the least expensive stations in your community. Also, avoid using your credit card at stations that charge extra for credit card transactions. You may be able to save some money by paying with cash.
And finally, remember that although these tips may seem like small changes, they can really add up when gas costs $4 a gallon.