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Thursday, April 10, 2008

10 Gasoline Cost Saving Tips for Your Wallet | The Wisdom Journal

We have to face the facts: driving is an unavoidable activity for most Americans. It isn’t feasible for everyone to bicycle or walk to work, but since today’s gasoline costs can so easily drain your wallet, people are beginning to consider these short-term and long-term solutions for conserving fuel:
  1. Empty your car instead of your wallet. Carrying around golf clubs, textbooks, toolboxes, or anything that’s not necessary adds weight to your car, slurps up gasoline, and drives down your fuel mileage. I’ve heard that every 100 pounds of extra weight you carry causes your fuel mileage to decrease by 3 percent. Whether this is true or not, it makes sense that extra weight requires extra energy and gasoline, so clean out that car and pad your wallet!
  2. Use public transportation where possible. Today there are many public transportation options even in the suburbs. Check out your municipality’s maps for buses, trolleys, subways, or other forms of public transportation. You could be surprised at how easy it is to get where you need to go. If you purchase weekly, monthly, or annual passes, you could potentially pad your wallet even more.
  3. Double up on those trips. Plan your trips very carefully. Imagine that you have to make all your trips in the least amount of time. That will translate to less gasoline used since you’ll be on the road less time. Then buy everything you can from one location. Learn to grocery shop in your kitchen by making a list and using newspaper fliers. How? Many stores will meet the advertised prices of their competitors. Take advantage of this and shop where the products you need are consistently lower. If you can’t buy everything you need from one location, plot stops along the most efficient path to avoid unnecessary driving…and unnecessary wallet draining.
  4. Share the ride. Coordinate trips with neighbors to share rides to work, school, or the grocery store. This helps if you’re friendly and have nice neighbors! You’ll also be able to take advantage of special high-occupancy vehicle (HOV) lanes in many cities. Some cities and companies even offer special benefits to people who sign up for car pooling arrangements. Check out websites such as carpoolconnect.com which helps match commuters who would like to carpool and pad their wallets.
  5. Shop til you drop. Find the lowest gasoline prices online using websites such as gaspricewatch.com or gasbuddy.com. Once you find the lowest price, use bankrate.com’s calculator that computes whether your wallet will be padded or drained by driving to a far away station with those lower gas prices.
  6. No “jack rabbit” starts. Quick starts and stops are both gasoline guzzlers. Start off gently and come to a gentle stop to have a gentle effect on your wallet.
  7. Catch a cool breeze. Using your car air conditioner can decrease fuel economy significantly because it puts added strain on the engine, so catch a cool breeze for your wallet by rolling down your windows or putting the top down on your convertible when you’re driving on local roads…if you can stand it. But it’s fine to use air conditioning on the freeway—closed windows reduce air resistance.
  8. Don’t be a fuel snob. Buy premium gasoline only if your car’s owner’s manual recommends it. For most cars, performance doesn’t improve with more expensive grades of gasoline. Your wallet doesn’t know the difference between 89 octane and 92 octane.
  9. Slow ride. Take it easy. Excessive speed can result in more than just speeding tickets (which also drain your wallet). A heavy left foot causes you to lose mileage and decrease your fuel economy. I think of it this way: if I drive 45 mph vs. 30 mph for a 10 mile trip, I only save about 6 minutes. Wow. Six minutes. And that’s only if I have zero stops. Factor in a real world stop sign and a few traffic lights and your time saved will significantly lessen while your wallet is drained.
  10. Give your car the once over. A well-tuned engine, properly inflated tires, regularly changed fluids, correctly maintained engine belts, a washed and waxed car, and a light weight trunk ALL can help you reduce gas expenses. When your car’s engine and tires aren’t properly maintained, your car requires more fuel to operate. Also make sure your gas cap is on tight to prevent gas evaporation. No sense letting your wallet evaporate!

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