If you are a typical driver, you drive more than 1300 miles in a month and, over the course of a year, you’ll purchase about 600 gallons of fuel to keep your car going. That’s the typical driver; you may not drive quite that much or you may drive a lot more than that but the point is, at current gas prices, you might be spending as much as $1500 a year or more just to keep gas in your car. Unfortunately, experts in the field predict gas prices going up from what they are now, giving us all a large incentive to try and find ways to reduce our fuel consumption. There are some ways to do that!
The next time you reach for your car keys ask yourself: Do I really need to drive? Every trip to the store does not require car keys; you may find that there are ways of getting to your destination that is less expensive or even free:
Walk! If your destination is just a quarter of a mile or so away, walking those few blocks will not only save your gas money it will help you stay in good shape.
Peddle! You may own a bicycle that’s sitting in a corner and not being used; dust it off and use it for those destinations that are just two or three miles away. Don’t worry! You never forget how to ride a bike! If you don’t own a bicycle, consider buying one.
Public transportation! For those trips that are just not practical for walking or peddling, consider your public transportation options.
Ride sharing! There are literally thousands of carpools operating five days a week and saving their member’s plenty of money on gas and on wear and tear on their cars. Ask around at work, you may be able to find two or three people who live in your general area and who are willing to start a carpool. Also, ask at work if the company has considered starting a vanpool — they may already have one that you can get in on.
Neighborhood networking! Many times, in suburbs and small communities, neighbors get together for weekly trips to the grocery store or into town for other shopping or supplies — one week one person drives and the next week someone else drives. That type of arrangement also works great for getting the kids to school and home when you live in an area where there is no school bus service.
Telecommuting! More and more people are working from home and, with modern technology, they can even attend virtual meetings right from home. There are thousands of companies across the country that allow telecommuting and, if you can present it as a practical alternative to your management, you may join the ranks of telecommuters — at least some days of the week.
Perhaps you have no choice — there is just no way, other than driving, to get from ‘Point A’ to ‘Point B;’ there are some things you can do to make your driving a money-saving experience.
Moderation! Watch your speed, if you drive at posted speed limits you’ll actually be driving at the most fuel-efficient speeds; if you have cruise control, use it for highway driving. When pulling away from a stop sign or light, don’t ‘floor it;’ jackrabbit starts are a big waste of gas. Jamming on your breaks wastes gas also and, more importantly, if you find yourself constantly hitting the breaks hard you’re driving far too aggressively; there is no need to add medical bills to your gas bills.
Plan ahead! During the morning and afternoon ‘rush hours’ you may find that the shortest route between home and work is also the most congested. Find an alternate route, even if it’s a little longer, it will get you out of those gas-wasting traffic jams. It also may be possible to have your work schedule changed so that you can miss the heavy traffic on the major highways.
Driving ‘lite’! The lighter your vehicle is, the less gas it will use. Don’t lug around unnecessary weight. Also, use the cars well-designed aerodynamics to your advantage by keeping your windows closed and not having anything strapped to the top of your car.
Keep your car in shape! A well-maintained car will burn less gas than one that has been neglected: keep your tires properly inflated; use the proper (manufacturer recommended) oil and gas in your car; change your oil and have tune-ups at regular intervals. If your tires need replacement, look for tires that are rated as LRR (Low Rolling Resistance). Proper tire inflation along with the LRR tires will be your biggest fuel savers.
Rising gas prices will probably be with us for quite a long time so, if you are interested in saving money on gas, take these tips very seriously.