Yesterday, I filled up at the gas station, and I was shocked. Shocked! Cost to fill up? $64.12. I really haven’t been hiding under a rock. It’s just that I don’t often fill the one vehicle I share with my husband, so it wasn’t until I handed over $64.12 that the runaway cost of gasoline got personal.
Have you noticed? Gas prices jumped more than 9 percent in the past month and 22.5 percent above last year at this time, and they’re not expected to slow down anytime soon.
Believe me, as I pulled away, I renewed my resolve to employ every gasoline-conservation technique and tip known to humankind. I thought perhaps you could use a reminder as well.
Instead of running to the dry cleaners tonight, the drugstore tomorrow, the post office the next day, and the doctor next Tuesday, combine those errands into one trip. Plan ahead because it’s all those short trips that can really whack the gas mileage.
Learn to drive as if there’s an egg in between the gas pedal and the floor. Break it and you die. This means gentle and gradual pressure on the gas—no sudden acceleration or “floor boarding.”
Carpool and Other Alternatives
Whenever possible, walk or ride a bike. Most of your trips are within just a few miles of your home anyway, so cut down your car mileage and get some exercise at the same time. Can’t avoid a car trip? Whenever possible, share a ride with a co-worker, neighbor, or family member.
Pass on Premium
High-octane fuels aren’t necessarily better for your car. In fact, unless your car’s manual specifically calls for premium fuel, your car might not be benefitting from it at all. Read that manual. Chances are good you can skip the premium and pocket the difference.
Gas mileage decreases rapidly above 60 miles per hour. If you drive 70 mph instead of 55 mph, experts say you could be burning up to 17 percent of your fuel just to get there a few minutes sooner. In fact, each 5 mph you drive over 60 mph is likely equal to paying an additional 20 cents per gallon of gas.
Bald tires are not only a driving hazard, but they also burn more fuel. Keeping your tires properly inflated is an easy way to improve your gas mileage by up to 3 percent, which could save 5 cents per gallon.
For every 100 pounds of excess weight in your trunk, your car loses about 2 percent of its fuel economy. Empty everything but the required safety equipment.
While the price of gasoline remains out of our control, we can control how often we visit the filling station. So, how low can you go? Could you cut one complete fill-up during the coming month? That’s my goal. I’ll keep you posted.
Mary Hunt is the founder of EverydayCheapskate.com, a frugal living blog and the author of the book “Debt-Proof Living.” Mary invites you to visit her at her website, where this column is archived complete with links and resources for all recommended products and services. Mary invites questions and comments at EverydayCheapskate.com/contact, “Ask Mary.” Tips can be submitted at Tips.EverydayCheapskate.com. This column will answer questions of general interest, but letters cannot be answered individually. Copyright 2021 Creators.com