As promised yesterday, today I've got some ideas on how to make your gas dollars go further. I have never seen prices at the pumps this high before. My husband and I both work from home and the car we primarily drive is a hybrid, so these high prices aren't killing us the way they are for some of our friends. I can't imagine how much we'd be paying if my husband was still doing the one hour each way commute that he used to.
How can you stretch what's in your gas tank to get the best value for your fuel dollars? Try these tips.
- Plan out your weekly errands and take the most efficient route when doing them. Try to only run errands once a week. A lot of gas gets wasted running to the post office today, the dry cleaners tomorrow and Target the next day. If you can do them all in one day and take the most direct routes from one place to another, you'll save gas.
- Drive the speed limit. The Department of Energy estimates that for every 5 mph you drive over 65 mph, there is a 7% decrease in fuel efficiency. The slower you drive, the better gas mileage you'll get.
- Keep your tires inflated. Americans waste 4 million gallons of gasoline each day simply because their tires are under inflated.
- Carpool with others who work with you. Taking the extra few minutes to pick up a colleague or waiting five minutes before you leave work for him or her to finish up may seem inconvenient at first. But by carpooling with just one other person, you can cut your fuel consumption to and from work in half. Add another person to the car, and the savings are even greater.
- Forgo warming up your car. Now that the weather is getting a little warmer, this isn't such a big deal. In the winter, however, many people leave their cars idle for 15 - 20 minutes or longer to get it warm. Suck it up and drive in a cold car. It will warm up eventually.
- Walk or bike. Not driving your car will certainly conserve fuel. If it's possible to go on foot or by bike instead of in the car, do it as often as you can. This is especially easy this time of year because the weather is not too cold or hot.
- Maintain your car. When the oil is changed, the spark plugs are sparking, and all is tuned up, you'll get better gas mileage.
- Say no to going out more often. Tell your friends you'll catch them next time. Order a movie off of pay per view instead of running out to the video store. Eat what you've got in the house instead of running out for take out.
- Avoid traveling in heavy traffic. All the stopping and starting, slamming on the breaks, quickly accelerating and decelerating that happens during times of heavy traffic is harder on the gas mileage. If possible, don't drive during rush hour.
- Get rid of your gas guzzler. Do you really need that SUV? How much off roading are you really doing, anyway? Trade in your current vehicle for something with better gas milage. It doesn't have to be a hybrid, but don't count them out immediately.
If you have some other suggestions for getting more out of each gallon of gas, please share them in the comments.