With gas prices at an all time high, nearing or above three dollars a
gallon, we should all think about ways to conserve our gas - and our money.
Most of us don't have a choice on how we get to work - we have to drive. If
you don't have a friend or colleague who lives close enough to carpool to
work - then there are a number of things you can do to help conserve your
Here are a few tips to think about:
1. If you own more than one car, especially if one of your vehicles is a
less fuel-efficient truck, SUV or van, use the more energy-conserving
vehicle as often as possible.
2. Consolidate trips and errands to cut down on driving time and keep
needless miles off the odometer. Find one location where you can take care
of all banking, grocery shopping and other chores.
3. Comparison shop by phone, online or through newspaper advertisements.
4. Slow down. The faster a vehicle travels - the more gas it burns. Driving
faster than posted speed limits is dangerous and increases stress. Leave
enough time to reach your destination at a proper speed.
5. Avoid quick starts and sudden stops. This wastes fuel, is harder on
vehicle components and increases the odds of a traffic crash.
6. Routinely maintain your vehicle. Keeping moving components properly
lubricated and ignition and emission systems operating properly will help
your vehicle achieve maximum fuel economy and extend its useful life.
Poorly maintained spark plugs, or malfunctioning fuel sensors, can cause
your vehicle to burn too much gasoline.
7. Maintain proper tire inflation. A third of all vehicles have one
improperly inflated tire. For every pound per square inch (PSI) that your
tires are under-inflated, you're lowering your fuel economy by 1 to 2
percent per tire. Multiply that by four, and that's a big problem. It's
like riding a bicycle with a tire that is low on air: How difficult it is
to push along when the tire is low? Under-inflated tires can decrease fuel
economy by up to 1 mile per gallon.
8. Lighten the load. Don't haul extra weight in the passenger compartment,
trunk or cargo area of your vehicle. A heavier vehicle uses more gasoline.
9. Use the lowest grade of gas your car can take. Unless your owner's
manual calls for premium gas, there's no reason to use it.
10. Shop for low gasoline prices locally, but don't waste gas driving to a
distant filling station to save a few cents.
11. Ditch your car's luggage rack, roof rack and related outdoorsy gear and
put it away until you actually need to use it. The drag created from this
gear can reduce your mileage per gallon by up to 5 percent.
12. Use your air conditioning sparingly; it can save as much as two miles
13. Ask for directions. There's nothing unmanly about it. If you're not
sure how to get where you are going - stop and ask for directions instead
of driving aimlessly around. Your wallet, and your wife, will thank you.
14. Fuel prices are part of the total cost of vehicle ownership, so
consider whether the car, truck or SUV you're thinking of buying is bigger
and heavier than needed.
As the summer comes to an end and we all try to fit in one more family
vacation before school starts again, remember these suggestions. Not only
will these tips help you get more out of every tank, they may even extend
the life of your car.