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How To Combat Skyrocketing Gas Prices!

Aug 17, 2007
Gas prices are surging again with summer of 2006 on the horizon, pushing or even passing $3 a gallon in some places.

Gas prices send many of us into panicked flashbacks of the fuel crunches in the summer of 1980 and the mid-1970s. Thankfully, we learned a few good habits back then. Many Americans traded in their eight-cylinder gas-guzzlers for row boat size cars with squires powering the engines.

Then came the boom of the late '90s, and, oh, how quickly we forgot. Though most of us still pump our own gas, we've fallen into bad habits again. We've embraced the gas-guzzling SUV and dawdle, idling, in drive-through lines.

In 2006, the Energy Department says it expects the price of regular to average $2.62 a gallon, 25 cents more than last summer, over the April-September driving period. But prices around the country already are above that.

Drivers aren't expected to ease off on the pedal soon, sending demand higher than last year. But they are grumbling. Read what people at the pump are saying about the high gas prices.

"Look, it's $41 to fill it up," complained Lorenzo River, 26, a restaurant manager, as he pumped mid-level gas Tuesday at $3.05 a gallon at a Chevron station near the Watergate complex in Northwest Washington. Across the street at an Exxon Mobil station, regular grade was going for $3.09 - and there weren't many customers.

Ervin Goodall, 56, a professional driver pumping supreme grade into his large sedan, was paying $3.29 a gallon. "It's lot higher than last year, a bigger hit," said Goodall, who added that when it comes to personal driving he's scaling back - no more Saturday day trips.

Guy Caruso, head of the Energy Department's statistical agency, said prices at the pump, which averaged $2.68 a gallon last week nationwide, are likely to increase 10 to 15 cents a gallon in the coming weeks, peak in May and drop off in late summer. He said the national average can mask local price spikes.

But you can hold down the number of times you have to stand at the gas pump, aghast while watching the numbers spin.

I give you 13 tips will help lower your fuel consumption and give you some relief from those high gas prices.

1) Car maintenance

Keep the tires inflated properly. This one is simple and a potential lifesaver. Under inflated tires waste fuel and wear out the tire tread. Also, check tires regularly for alignment and balance.

A well-tuned engine burns less gas. Get regular tune-ups and follow through with routine maintenance. The right parts and fresh oil keep your engine happy and less thirsty for gas.

Get the junk out of the trunk. A weighed-down car uses more fuel. For every extra 250 pounds your engine hauls, the car loses about one mile per gallon in fuel economy. Carry only the basic emergency equipment and items you really need.

2) Gas shopping

Buy the lowest grade (octane) of gasoline that is appropriate for your car. Check your owner's manual for this information. As long as your engine doesn't knock or ping, the fuel you're using is fine. You can save hundreds of dollars a year.

Pay cash at stations that charge extra for credit cards.
Don't top off the gas tank. Too much gas will just seep out of the gas tank. Why waste those extra pennies?

3) Driving

Drive smart; don't make fast starts or sudden stops. You're just overexerting your engine and burning extra fuel. Gradual acceleration also helps automatic transmissions run better. Revving your Engine wastes precious gas, too.

Lighten up on the accelerator. The faster you drive, the more gas you use. Note that speed limits have gone up around most of the nation, but you don't have to see your fuel consumption go up drastically as well. For example, driving at 55 mph rather than 65 mph can improve your fuel economy by two miles per gallon. Avoid long warm-ups. Even on cold winter mornings, your car doesn't need more than a minute to get ready to go. Anything more and you're just burning up that expensive fuel.

Save all your errands for one trip and plan your stops for the most efficient route. You'll save yourself time and money.
Do not rest your left foot on the brake. The slightest pressure could cause a drag that will demand additional gas use and wear out the brakes sooner.

4) Other good habits to save on gas prices

Tighten up that gas cap. Make sure it's on securely. Buy a new one if your current cap doesn't fit snugly. Gas easily evaporates from the tank if it has an escape.

Buy a fuel-efficient car. When you go car shopping, factor in long-term fuel costs. Keep in mind that sunroofs add to wind resistance, lowering the mileage per gallon.

Be smart with the air conditioning. On the highway, closed windows decrease air resistance, so run the air conditioner. But in stop-and-go traffic, shutting off the air conditioning and opening the windows can lighten your fuel use. Air conditioning can lower your fuel economy by 10 percent to 20 percent.

Remove snow tires in good weather. Deep tread and big tires use more fuel.

Use a fuel additive to increase the mileage for your vehicle.
About the Author
Glenn Freiboth is a business consultant and author for many online and
offline businesses and lives in Illinois.
Products to Help Save Gas Prices can be found at http://gasnutrition.com/rocketfuel
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