How to Drastically Reduce Fuel Costs

With gas prices being what they are and the economy in such a downturn one of the main things folks are seeking is ways in which to save on their fuel costs.  While there is not much anyone can do about the cost of gas there are a number of ways in which people can drastically reduce the amount of money they are paying for their fuel.  We will be discussing a number of them in this article.

This first one is pretty much a no-brainer but nonetheless has to be said.  You must be vigilant in the maintenance of your automobile.  We know that sounds like common sense, but unfortunately a good deal of people never do the simple things that will drastically improve the mileage their car is capable of achieving.  And two of them are drop dead easy to do.

First is to make sure your tires are properly inflated.  Studies have shown that over 60 percent of the cars on the road are riding on underinflated tires.  A simple tire gauge that you can purchase for under 10 dollars along with a bi-weekly check of your tires should take care of that.  One tip though; always check your tires when the car has stopped moving for at least three hours.  Otherwise you will end up with an inaccurate reading.

Next up is your oil changes.  Cars need to have their oil changed anywhere from every 3000 to 7500 miles, depending on your make and model.  A simple check of your Owner’s Manual will tell you the guidelines for your particular vehicle.  And in the event you don’t have the manual, no worry; the vehicle maker’s website will provide you with that information.

Other ways to conserve fuel involve your driving habits.  We know it’s not always possible but if you can keep sudden starts and stops to a minimum you will save gas.  And never rev up your engine; this is a real fuel eater.  When you’re on the freeway try avoid going over the posted speed limit even though everyone else seems to be doing it. 

Also, plan your daily routine so that you will be able to do everything you need done in the shortest time and distance possible.  If you can connect the driving dots so you are getting from here to there and back in a smooth sequence, you will find that you are saving a whole lot of money on gas.  Follow the tips listed in this article and you will be amazed at how much less you are spending on fuel.

Increasing Fuel Economy, How to Save on Gas

One of the most expensive devices to keep and operate is sitting in your driveway.  Yes, it’s your car and it’s costing you a bundle. Soaring gas prices, maintenance and tolls can eat up money like a termite eats wood, but there are a number of things that you can do to keep your car from driving you broke.

First there are a number of apps that will help you find the best price at the pump.  GasBuddy, for example, will show you the prices on all the pumps around your home town as reported by your neighbors. It is also best to fill up in the morning when gas is cold as hasn’t expanded.  Less expanded, more in your trunk. Up to 2% more actually, which on a full tank can equal a couple of bucks each time.

Keeping your car properly maintained can lower your cost at the pump significantly also.  Making sure the tire pressure is correct, for example, is very easy to do and can save you 2 to 3 %. Getting the oil changed regularly is also important not only for gas mileage but to reduce the risk of wear that causes the need for repair. One thing that most people overlook is the trunk, meaning that if it’s full of junk it can weigh the car down and cause higher gas consumption.

Aggressive driving and speeding can really suck up a lot of extra gas.  It’s been found that for every 5 miles an hour over 60 mph you actually end up paying about .29 cents per gallon more, which is very significant.  Using cruise control is a great idea if you’re on the highway and can save quite a bit of gas over speeding and slowing constantly. One of the worst offenders is idling your car to ‘warm it up’ which for most cars is absolutely unnecessary and wastes ¼ gallon of fuel every 15 minutes.

Finally, carpooling is an excellent way to save on gas and maintenance, as well as taking the train and bus when possible. If you do all of these things you could save up to 10% on gasoline which, over a year’s time, could be a very significant savings.

Top Five Tips for Going Green on Your Work Commute

Want to know how you can do your bit to save the planet, save some money and maybe even get fit and trim down? Your commute to work is where you can make a difference. With your travel plans modified car insurance, maintenance costs, petrol, and parking tariffs could be a thing of the past! Read on to discover some handy hints.

Walk to work

Do you live down the road from work, but have got into the bad habit of jumping in the car every day? Make a concerted effort to walk to work instead! While you might think it’ll take a little longer, you might also discover that you actually get there quicker or in the same time as you would if you were driving! With rush hour traffic usually being bumper-to-bumper, you’ll be glad of the chance to breathe in some clean air and clear your head before the day begins. And if you need a little motivation, why not take a look at Living Streets? They organise the ‘Walk to Work Week’, a great opportunity to get and give motivation!

Cycle to work (cycle to work scheme)

Especially quick if you live only a couple of miles from work, cycling is one of the speediest forms of transport available to you, and if you can squeeze in just 30 minutes of cycling per day (that’s a mere 15 minutes each way!), you’ll achieve a fitness level equivalent to that of someone 10 years your junior! And if you’re worried about the dangers you’ll face on the roads as a cyclist, here’s a cool factoid that’ll put your fear into perspective: there’s only one cyclist death for every 33-million kilometres cycled, which would take the average cyclist 21,000 years to get that far. And if you need a little help with buying a new bike, you could either buy a secondhand one to begin with or ask your boss to sign up to the Bike 2 Work scheme. It’s completely free to set up and it means that you and your colleagues can buy bikes and equipment at up to 52 per cent discount and spread the cost over 12 months, with monthly instalments being taken straight from your salary.

Car sharing

If you and your colleagues all live on roughly the same route to work but all drive in separately, why don’t you club together and agree to car share? You can each take turns driving in, and if there’s anyone who can’t drive, let them contribute towards petrol! It’ll save everyone money on car insurance, maintenance costs, petrol, and parking tariffs, and in terms of the environment, one car is better than five.

Public transport

Have you found out about what busses, trams or trains run in your area? While you might think it’s cheaper to drive to work than using public transport, it might be well worth your time to find out and then calculate how much you’re spending on car insurance, maintenance costs, petrol, and parking tariffs – you could be in for a big surprise!

Get yourself a lean, green smog-fighting machine

With a starting price of £23,990 and lithium-ion battery power, the Nissan LEAF Electric is the world’s very first five-seat, medium-sized hatchback with zero-emissions that will run for an incredibly worthy 80-100 miles per charge. Released in March this year, the Leaf was swiftly awarded 2011 European Car of the Year – a telling achievement. The electric motor delivers over 80kW drive to the wheels and takes just 30 minutes to charge to 80 per cent capacity (or eight hours to reach 100 per cent), making it eligible for the Plug-in Car Grant. And there are plenty of other models out at the moment, with many eligible for various grants and exemptions.

Michigan Lawmakers Prepare to Fight Possible Proposed Fuel Economy Standards

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Why can't we seem to figure out this gas mileage stuff?

Despite having a large portion of their state’s economy saved by the Federal Government’s auto bailouts, lawmakers in Michigan are preparing to express concerns and discontent over the White House’s rumored new fuel economy standards.  In case you’re not already aware, it is believed the White House will push CAFE standards to 56.2 miles per gallon (mpg) by 2025, nearly doubling today’s standards.

In an article entitled “Michigan Lawmakers Prepare Letter on Fuel Economy Rules”, published in the Detroit Free Press, Aaron M. Kessler writes:

It currently remains unclear whether the letter will specifically take on the 56 m.p.g. target by 2025 that the White House wants, or raise more generalized concerns.

As the Free Press reported Tuesday, Michigan’s congressional delegation gathered this morning to decide whether to publicly join the fuel economy debate. Michigan’s members of Congress had mostly remained silent in public as the negotiations have continued in recent weeks.

While this article seems to be rather ambiguous, if you read between the lines it’s obvious to see that the Michigan lawmakers will oppose the large raise in fuel economy standards, mostly because they will be inconvenient to some of the largest businesses in Michigan.

You see, state and local governments are not immune to being “persuaded” (read: in bed with) corporations, and will do whatever is in the company’s best interest.

Despite the fact I believe simply raising the fuel tax would achieve a greater reduction in fuel consumption, I’m still all for raising fuel economy standards.  Unfortunately, it appears that Michigan lawmakers will take the stance of going with neither.

What are your thoughts?  Should Michigan lawmakers oppose?  Are you tired of our governments putting the best interests of corporations first?  Leave your comments below or share this post via the social sharing buttons – especially Facebook and Twitter.

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Fuel Economy vs. Fuel Taxes – Which Will Do More?

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Which is better, higher fuel economy or higher fuel taxes? Image via Wikipedia

Here’s an interesting question: which is more likely to make you use less fuel, forcing you to buy a more fuel efficient vehicle or forcing you to pay a much, much higher fuel tax?

This is sort of a relevant question because there is news that the Obama administration is considering raising fuel economy standards for all cars and trucks sold in the U.S. to 56.2 miles per gallon by the year 2025:

The Obama administration is considering a fleetwide average of 56.2 miles per gallon for all new cars and trucks sold in the US by 2025, The Wall Street Journal reported late Saturday citing two people briefed on the matter said.

The proposal would roughly double current fuel-economy targets, and would likely raise the price of some cars by several thousand dollars.

Read more of this Fox News article by clicking here.

2025 is certainly a long way off, these new standards are certainly worth debating in the meantime.

While I think most of us would be willing to argue that reducing fuel consumption is certainly something we need to do, there are arguments that simply raising fuel economy standards isn’t the best way to go about it.

In an interesting article entitled Fuel Taxes vs Fuel Economy: Are Stricter Fuel Economy Standards a Good Idea? by Ed Dolan (published on OilPrice.com), it is argued that raising fuel economy standards tackles only a small portion of the problem:

The problem with higher CAFE standards is that they encourage fuel saving only with regard to the choice of what car to buy. Once a consumer buys a low-mileage vehicle, the cost of driving and extra mile goes down, thereby reducing the incentive for fuel-saving measures like moving closer to work, working at home, riding the bus to work, or consolidating errands.

The very fuel-saving strategies that CAFE standards discourage, like moving closer to work or consolidating errands, are often the ones that have the lowest costs. That is why the total cost of reaching a given national fuel-saving target will be greater when achieved through CAFE standards than when induced by an increase in fuel taxes.

If you’re a fan of economics, studies in spending habits, or just interested in the topic, I highly recommend you read the article in its entirety.

Anyway, in looking at this side of the argument, I think I would have to agree with Dolan.  Think about it, in order to get the biggest environmental bang for the buck you need to fundamentally change people’s driving habits.  You’re not going to do that by increasing fuel economy standards.  That’s painless.

The only way you’re really going to invoke substantial change is to cause pain, particularly pain in the wallet.  That’s why a dramatic increase in the fuel tax would mass a larger reduction in fuel usage and pollution than simply raising fuel economy standards.

Yes, I realize this is a so-called “regressive tax” meaning it affects the poor far more than the wealthy, but, as heartless as it sounds, I don’t think that should stop politicians from moving forward with a fuel tax increase.

What do you think?  Which is more apt to bring bigger changes?  Leave a comment below and be sure to spread the word using the social buttons below.

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How Much Does Your Commute Suck?

One of the most painful things of any person’s day is the commute to and from work.

In the morning, you’re half asleep, stuck in traffic surrounded by a bunch of idiot drivers, and heading into a job you’d rather not be at. In the afternoon, you’re drained from sitting through boring meetings, being stuck in traffic surrounded by a bunch of a-holes, and probably heading to a hectic situation at home.

Driving your car used to be a release. Now it’s just an added stress.

Fun!

Thankfully, according to a recent poll, it appears that most of us don’t have to spend a “significant” amount of time blowing a gasket while bonding with our fellow commuters.

When asked “How long (on average) does your roundtrip commute take?” nearly 250 Daily Fuel Economy Tip readers responded with the following answers:

  • 44% – Less than 30 minutes
  • 26% – Between 30 minutes and 1 hour
  • 19% – Between 1 and 2 hours
  • 11% – Greater than 2 hours

A roundtrip commute of less than 30 minutes really isn’t all that bad. I know I’d enjoy that.

And with a one-way commute of about 15 minutes, it sort of begs the question: how many of these people walk or take mass-transit?  Nothing like letting someone else do all of the driving.

What’s your commute like?  Leave your comments below.

Higher Gas Prices Leading to More Carpooling or Mass Transit?

As the price of gasoline climbed over the last 12 months, many economists and transportation pundits were expecting a mini-boom in the number of drivers – especially commuters – taking part in carpooling programs and/or using mass transportation more frequently.

With gas prices spending a significant amount of time above the $4 mark, many of us were starting to feel financial pain every time we went to fill up our cars.  And since the easiest way to save on gas is to simply not drive as much, it would certainly make sense if there was a jump in the number of people carpooling and using public transportation.

Unfortunately, common sense didn’t win out this time.

According to a recent poll on GasBuddy.com, the recent bout of high gas prices has done very little to push drivers to carpool or use public transportation.

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High Gas Prices Forcing You to Drive Less?

Over the span of the past 18 months, the national average price of gasoline has jumped from a low of $2.13 per gallon (February 2007) to a high of $4.12 (July 2008), back down to today’s current price of $3.69.

While the price decline over the past two months has come as a relief, the 75% price increase between early 2007 and now is clearly unprecedented and has to have made a profound impact on many of our personal finances.

And since money doesn’t grow on trees – especially in this slumping economy – chances are you’ve had to cut back somewhere in order to account for having less money in your pocket. According to a recent poll on GasBuddy.com, nearly 70% of us have reduced the amount of driving we do in order to cope with higher gasoline prices.

[Read more…]

A 10% Drop in Gasoline Use Would do a lot of Good

On many occasions on this site I’ve stated that just slightly decreasing the amount of gasoline you use will add up over time and really make a difference, for both your finances and the environment. While it certainly is pretty cliche, it’s nothing but the truth. While the idea behind this post is fairly obvious, the actual benefits implementing the idea might not be.

For example, if Americans were to decrease gasoline consumption by just 10% – which can be done any number of ways: by being a better driver, keeping up on car maintenance, trading in a gas guzzler for a fuel sipper – we could save billions of dollars per year and keep massive amounts of greenhouse gases out of the environment.

Let me explain a little further:

On average, Americans consume about 386 million gallons of gasoline each day. Over the course of a year, that adds up to just under 141 billion gallons of gas. That’s a lot of gas, and is by far the highest number of any country in the world.

If people were able to reduce their fuel consumption by just 10% – which, again, is very easy to do – we would save 14.1 billion gallons of gas each year.

With the current national average price for a gallon of gas sitting at $3.78, this reduction in gasoline usage would equal a total dollar savings of over $53 billion. To put that in perspective, this total is about 1/3rd of the Government stimulus package that was supposed to help jump start the economy.

In addition to the massive amounts of money we would save, there would also be a significant reduction in the amount of damage we do to the environment.

Each gallon of gasoline that we burn releases roughly 20 pounds of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. Carbon dioxide, as I’m sure you’re well aware, is widely believed to be one of the main contributors to global warming and the “greenhouse effect.”

By reducing fuel consumption by just 10%, we would keep 2.8 billion tons of carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere. While I have no idea whether or not this would make a significant dent in global warming, it certainly can’t hurt. (I’m sure someone will be kind enough to leave a comment telling everyone what effects a reduction of this magnitude would have on the environment. Hint, hint.)

So, back to the original premise, if Americans were able to reduce their gasoline usage by only 10%, we would save billions of dollars and help save the environment. Sounds like a pretty good deal to me!

Thanks to higher gas prices, Americans have already begun to drastically reduce the amount of miles they drive, and have started to trade in their gas guzzlers for more cars with better fuel economy. Hopefully, that means we’re well on our way to getting to this 10% reduction – if not more.

Drivers to Continue to Find Ways to Save Gas, Even if Prices Continue to Fall

It’s certainly no secret that continued high gasoline prices have put a serious dent in the budgets of most Americans. In order to cope and deal with rising fuel costs, many of us have had to begrudgingly make changes in our driving habits that even a year ago, would have seemed unfathomable.

After all, hasn’t it become the new Manifest Destiny for Americans to have abundant, cheap and convenient transportation?

As expensive gasoline started to become less of a passing fad and more of an entrenched institution, these subtle changes in lifestyle and driving habits became less of a nuisance and more of an necessity to stay financially solvent.

However, with the price of gasoline having now fallen for 17 consecutive days – and now down over 5% from its record high – one would think that the natural tendency would be for people to return to their “old” driving habits. After all, we certainly have become accustomed to driving whatever, whenever and wherever we choose.

Not so fast. This time it appears that we may have learned our lesson and are willing to let our recent change in driving habits become a little more entrenched.

According to a recent poll on CNNMoney.com, 67% of drivers will continue to try and find new ways to save gas, even if prices continue to fall.

Here’s how nearly 100,000 people responded to the poll, which asked: “If gas prices continue to go down, I will:”

  • 6% stated they will go back to their old driving habits
  • 27% stated they will drive the same way they do now
  • 67% stated they will still find new ways to save gas

Due to record high gas prices, many of us are walking more, driving less and moving towards vehicles with better fuel economy. Considering none of these changes are too dramatic or life changing, it’s easy to see why we appear so willing to make these recent adjustments a permanent part of our lives.

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