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12 Simple Tips To Cut Your Gas Expenses And Help The Environment

Aug 7, 2008
Lately it has been outlined in the press that although the price of crude oil has dropped 15% in the past three weeks, the average price at the pump has gone down much more slowly. Over the same time period, the average price at the pump for a gallon of regular gas has only gone down 3%.

According to leading experts, motorists are getting hosed, because the dealers at the pump wait several days before they pass on the savings to their customers, effectively padding their bottom line. So even with the slight relief, gas-saving awareness remains very high. Not to mention that high gas prices have also forced us to look for cleaner alternatives to oil.

If we decrease our oil consumption in favor of cleaner technologies, we not only decrease our personal energy bill and our nation's dependence on foreign oil, but we also contribute to helping the environment, which is a win-win situation.

While we would all love to drive a hybrid, it's not feasible for all of us right now (and the waiting lists on those babies are just increasing by the day). With that in mind, let's see what we can do to get the most out of our current cars. Here are a few of the suggestions I've found online to make our gas take us farther. Some of them are obvious, others I find to be doubtful

*Combine trips. Cut down on the short trips. Those are the most inefficient ones: your car's engine is not warm yet and thus doesn't run as efficiently as it could. So it's a good thing to visit as many places as possible in one trip, as you'll get a better mileage. Plus fewer trips means less gas.

*Make sure that you tires are properly inflated. Your car's owner's manual has specific information on proper pressure for your tires. When your tires aren't properly inflated, they don't give your car the traction that it's supposed to have, and that decreases your mileage.

*Change your air filter regularly. As you can certainly imagine, clogged air filters reduce the efficiency of your engine and/or air conditioner because they're not working in optimal conditions. As a result, your gas mileage suffers and your transportation budget increases (by as much as 10%)

Pay attention to your gas gauge. If you seem to go through a tank of gas too quickly compared to the usual, maybe it's time for an oil change or a tune-up.

*Check out sites such as www.gasbuddy.com and www.gaspricewatch.com to learn about cheap gas deals in your area. Local news stations also feature "cheap gas" resources, or other sites with similar information. Odds are, you'll find a website that goes something like www.[yourstate]gasprices.com to give you some local information.

*Avoid excessive accelerating, braking and idling. Experts agree that gas mileage is significantly decreased as speeds increase. Save gas and money by driving the speed limit and never any faster than 60 miles per hour. Also, engine technology has come a long way and it doesn't require that much gas to start an engine; so rather than let your car sit running for several minutes, turn it off, you'll use less gas.

*Map out your trip before you hit the road. Consult Mapquest, Google Maps, or Yahoo Maps to help you find the shortest, most direct way to get to your destination.

*If you're planning to buy a new car, check out Consumer Reports or www.fuelecomony.gov for information on cars with the best and worst mileage before you make that purchase.

*Monitor air conditioning usage. At speeds lower than 40 miles per hour, it can be more fuel efficient to roll down your windows. Personally, I'm on the fence on this one.

*Empty your trunk. Gone are the days where it was advisable to have extra weight in your trunk to "stabilize" your car. Nowadays all it does is weigh down your car... and your wallet.

*Learn about hypermiling. It's the science (art?) of driving in a way that absolutely maximizes the mileage you get out of your car. There are plenty of news reports online on the practice and its benefits.

Consider carpooling. Many people hate carpooling because it limits your flexibility and privacy. Still, it can be a great option. Car pooling can save hundreds of dollars annually and is kind to the environment, thanks to reduced emissions. What's not to love?

Americans literally have love affairs with their cars but high gas prices have turned it into a bit of a love-hate relationship lately. Spending less on gas and helping the environment might just put some spice back into said relationship.
About the Author
More money-saving tips on how to find a

legitimate credit repair company
, check

deposit insurance
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