Monday, May 12, 2008

Gas Savings

In that our family ran back and forth to a neighboring state 3 times this weekend, cutting the cost of gasoline is on my mind this morning. These are some gas saving ideas that I came across:

Stick with 89 octane

Most cars have been designed to run on it. To use a higher grade will not increase performance if your car wasn't designed for it. Plus, the higher the number, the more pollutants. Imagine, cheaper is greener.

Think out your trips

Before you get going, take a moment to figure out if you combine trips. Just because you are used to picking up the dry cleaning on Wednesdays, why not grab it on Tuesday after the kids' gymnastics class if it is just down the street? Instead of driving 6 miles to the bread outlet, ask you husband to stop at on the way home. After all, it is only a half mile out of his way - and you'll save a gallon of gas every other time.

Give the brakes a break

Why rush to stop signs? Believe it or not, it is a gas waster. If you are approaching a stop, take you foot off the gas. If you anticipate stops by removing your foot from the gas, that coasting will save you money - on brake wear too.

Know where to go - bookmark it and check it before you leave the house. Senseless driving translates into centsless driving. If you've lost your way once you've left home, stop to ask directions.

Get thee to a garage

Regular maintenance of your vehicle cannot be over estimated. A government site that has a break down on the gas savings of maintenance cites the savings of a properly tuned up car as $0.14 per gallon. That is just one element of maintaining your car! Proper tire pressure, clean oil of the correct grade, clean air filters and a bunch of other who-ja-ma-whats-its that your local mechanic knows about will save you at the pump.

Turn the car off

Okay, okay. That is a pretty obvious one. The reason I mention it is because it is so easy to forget when you pull in the driveway and want to hear the rest of a song, or when you are about to leave and release that you forgot something in the house. At those times we often mindlessly leave the engine running. The thing to remember though is that the miles per gallon while in idle is zero, zilch, nada.

Get the junk out of the trunk

The more weight in the car, the greater drag. And I'm not talking about your cousin Charlie who now goes by the name Charlene. Winter is over - take the chains, kitty litter, shovel and whatever else is in the back end out. While you're there, might as well remove the envelope of expired coupons. Won't make a difference in gas consumption, but you'll feel better about yourself.

Don' let the AC run up the GQ
When you use the car's air conditioning system the engine has to run harder - upping the gas quotient. It is a matter of expending energy. Before you turn the air conditioner on, consider putting down a window instead.

Avoid the speed trap
No, I'm not saying talking about police operations; rather, I'm saying not to get sucked into thinking that you have to go as fast as the posted speed limit. Thinking back to when the federal government legislated the 55 mph limit, I remember the fact that the most cost efficient speed to drive is 45mph at a steady rate. When the posted speed is 65mph, you do not have to drive that fast - in fact, that is the maximum to be driven in the area. Just be sure that you stay in the right hand lane if you are not going as fast as the limit and don't go slower than the minimum. Speed kills... gas mileage.
Consider car pooling and alternative forms of transportation

<-----The picture says it all.

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