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.

Switch to a Motorbike for Cheaper Commutes

We’re always looking for ways to save money on transport, and with fuel prices changing every day, one of the best ways to make sure you save cash is simply to use less fuel. While drivers can try to reduce fuel consumption in all sorts of ways, from accelerating more smoothly to ensuring they have the correct tyre pressure, perhaps the most dramatic way to spend less on fuel is to switch to life on two wheels.

Not only does a motorcycle get many, many more miles to the gallon than an equivalent car, but a number of associated costs are considerably lower too. The Get On campaign recently compared the running costs of a Honda CBF 125n against a Vauxhall Corsa 1.0i, finding that £10 worth of petrol will take the biker 258 miles, while the driver just gets just 82 miles for the same amount. Bikers also spend much less on the cost of lessons and taking the test – £170 compared with a massive £1,077 for drivers.

Another area where motorcyclists save money is insurance. Specialist companies like MCE Insurance will offer much lower premiums for motorcycles than it would cost to insure a car, due to bikes generally costing much less to repair or replace in the event of an accident. According to Motorcycle News magazine, insuring a car costs on average three times more than insuring a motorbike.

Finally, road tax is also much lower for bikers, who also enjoy free parking in many major cities. Added together, all these benefits make switching to two wheels an easy choice for those who want to save cash, whether it just be on their daily commute, or on a full-scale adventure such as the ones we found here!

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.

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

fuel taxes, fuel economy, obama administration fuel economy

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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10 Simple Steps to Save Gas and Improve Gas Mileage

About this time last year, when the national average price of gasoline was over $4 per gallon, many of us were obsessed with trying to squeeze as many miles as possible out of each tank of gas. 

For a while though, as gas prices fell almost as rapidly as they climbed, many of us seemed to stop caring as much about continuing to conserve gas.  After all, it’s much easier to look the other way when it costs only $20 to fill up when compared to the $45 it cost just six months earlier.

However, with the economy continuing to crumble, the job market getting worse by the day, and money getting tighter for the average family, it seems like now would be a good time to revisit those gas saving tips we tried so hard to learn last spring and summer.

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Buying More Fuel Thanks to Lower Prices? Probably Not

Remember last spring and summer, when the price of gasoline seemed to hit a new record high with each passing day?  We were worried gas was soon going to become too expensive for us to commute to and from work, and we would have to choose between filling up our tanks or filling up our stomachs.

In an effort to help keep our budgets balanced, many of us cut back on our discretionary driving, only filled up our tanks half way, used public transportation more, and even gave up our our cars and trucks for bicycles and walking shoes.

Seems so long ago now, doesn’t it?

Since hitting a record high of $4.12 per gallon back in mid-July, the price of gasoline has fallen nearly 60%, and now stands at $1.68 per gallon.  The last time the price of gasoline was this low was back in April 2004.

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National Speed Limit to Help Save Gas? Not so Fast!

Remember the days of $4 gasoline?  Ah, they seem so long ago – even though it was less than three months ago.

Anyway, one of the many proposed ideas to help ease the pain at the pump and help drivers consume less gasoline was to implement a national speed limit, which would reduce the maximum allowable driving speed to top out at 55 miles per hour.

However, with all of the recent Federal intervention and meddling in an effort to revive the economy, one would imagine Congress has much bigger things to worry about.  Besides, do we really want the government to step in and impose even more regulations upon us?

According to a recent poll on GasBuddy.com, a vast majority of drivers are against a government mandated speed limit.

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Who Else Wants it to be Illegal to Text While Driving?

Picture the following scenario: you’re driving your normal route to work, minding your own business.  Then, out of the corner of your eye, you see that the car next to you started to slowly veer into your lane.  You look over and see the driver next to you is busy texting.

How many times has this very scenario happened to you?  Or, more importantly, how many times have you been the driver guilty of texting while driving?

It is currently illegal to text while driving in six states: Alaska, California, Connecticut, Minnesota, New Jersey, and Washington.  Attempts to ban text messaging are currently being made by many more states as well.

Are these bans prime examples of state governments overstepping their bounds and interfering with private matters, or should every state step up and ban texting while driving in an effort to protect “innocent” motorists?

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Improve Your Gas Mileage in 3 Simple Steps

Increasing your vehicle’s gas mileage is one of the easiest things you can do. The reason why I can say that with complete confidence is because, in many cases, YOU decide whether or not not your vehicle is achieving it’s maximum fuel economy.

This is both good and bad news. It’s good news because it means you don’t have to go out and spend lots of money of fuel additives or engine “add ons” in order to get significantly better gas mileage. However, it’s bad news because most of us have become very set in our ways regarding our driving habits, which makes it very difficult to follow through on our better driving habits.

That being said, the three tips I’m going to talk about here are so easy to implement that I’m willing to guess that if you take just two or three weeks to consciously follow them as you’re driving, you’ll never go back to your hard driving habits again. Plus, I think following these three tips will help you to enjoy driving again!

So, without further ado, here are the three steps that, if you follow, will drastically improve your vehicle’s gas mileage:

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Fuel Economy Tip – Follow the “3 Second Rule”

Here’s a tip that will not only help you increase your vehicle’s fuel economy, but will also help you become a much safer driver:

Follow the “3 Second Rule”

As you are driving down the road – particularly at highway speeds – make sure that you give keep plenty of space between your car, truck, SUV, etc. and the vehicle in front of you. In most cases, you are giving proper spacing if you are traveling three seconds behind the car in front of you, however, you will likely need to give more time and space if you’re driving in bad weather.

For those of you who don’t know how to tell how close you are traveling to the car in front of you, pick a set object up a head – an exit sign, a light pole, etc. – and once the bumper of the car you’re following crosses the designated object, begin counting and don’t stop until the hood of your car passes the same object.

Following the “3 Second Rule” will help keep you from constantly tapping your brakes and accelerator every time the car in front of you slows down and speeds up. By avoiding tap dancing on your brake and accelerator pedals, you can significantly increase your fuel economy. Here’s why:

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