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.


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.

12 Greenest Cars of 2010

Looks like even though we’re out of the 2000’s, we’re not going to be able to get away from the word “green.”

The American Council for Energy Efficient Economy has released their list of the 12 Greenest Cars of 2010. You can view pictures of each of the models listed below by clicking here.

For the sake of brevity, here’s the list of cars, as well as a breakdown of each model’s gas mileage:

1. Honda Civic GX – The cool thing about the Civic GX is that it runs on Natural gas, and gets an equivalent of 36 MPG highway
2. Toyota Prius – Most well known Hybrid on the road, gets 48 MPG highway, 51 MPG city
3. Honda Civic Hybrid – The hybrid version of one of the best selling cars in the U.S. gets 45 MPG highway, 40 MPG city
4. Smart ForTwo – Has tiny 1.0 liter, 3-cylinder engine which allows it to get 41 MPG highway (I’d be afraid to take this out on an interstate), 33 MPG city
5. Honda Insight – Honda’s equivalent of the Prius gets 43 MPG highway, 40 MPG city
6. Ford Fusion/Mercury Milan Hybrids – first American car on the list, and the Detroit Auto Show 2010 Car of the Year, gets 36 MPG highway, 41 MPG city
7. Toyota Yaris – Tiny and cheap, and gets 36 MPG highway, 29 MPG city
8. Nissan Altima Hybrid – Just another hybrid on the list. 33 MPG highway, 35 MPG city
9. Mini Cooper – Fun, zippy car gets 37 MPG highway, 28 MPG city
10. Chevy Cobalt XFE – Small, 2.2 liter, 4-cylinder engine gets 37 MPG highway, 25 MPG city
11. Hyundai Accent Blue – A new car under $10 grand that gets 36 MPG highway, 27 MPG city?
12. Honda Fit – 33 MPG highway, 27 MPG city. Really nothing much else to say.

So, if you’re in the market for a new car, be sure to check out all of the cars listed above!

3 Reasons Gasoline is Going to $5 a Gallon

One of the benefits of The Great Recession has been a respite from high gas prices.  Unfortunately, I think this break will be over very soon and that record high gasoline prices are just around the corner.

Back in July of 2008, the average price for a gallon of regular unleaded gasoline hit a record high of $4.12 per gallon.  Within six months, the bottom had fallen out of the economy and the average price of gasoline had dropped to $1.60 per gallon.

Gas PricesThanks to drastic coordinated measures by the world’s central banks and governments, a total economic collapse was avoided, an economic rebound started to take hold, and gasoline prices climbed back to the $2.60 range.

While avoiding a total “end of the world as we know it” scenario was certainly something that had to be done, the money printing measures may have set us up to face much higher gasoline prices in the near-term future.

Below are the three main reasons why I believe not only will we break the record high prices set back in July 2008, but we can expect to start paying $5 or more for gasoline.

[Read more…]

Oil Falls Below $70; Gasoline up 60% in 12 Months

The price of oil has fallen below $70 for the first time since early October, thanks to increased U.S. petroleum reserves as well as a strengthening dollar. Since hitting its 2009 high of $82 per barrel on October 25, the price of oil has fallen nearly 15%.

Despite falling oil prices, the national average price of a gallon of regular unleaded gasoline has remained relatively flat over the past month, falling just two cents from $2.65 to today’s price of $2.63.

While the price of gasoline is still well below the record highs set back in July 2008, it is still up nearly 60% from a year ago when the national average stood at $1.65 per gallon.

Currently only Hawaii ($3.53) and Alaska ($3.22) are reporting a state-wide average gas price above $3 per gallon, while 14 states are reporting an average gas price below $2.50 per gallon. Oklahoma currently has the lowest average price at $2.43 per gallon.

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.

Fuel Economy Tip – The Two Mile Rule

There is little doubt that the recent spike in the price of gasoline has caused many Americans to change their driving habits. Whether it’s a drastic change like picking up and moving, or a more subtle change like making sure to drive the speed limit, chances are pretty good that we’ve all done something to help offset higher gas prices.

One way many people have tried to reduce the pain at the pump is by walking or riding a bicycle when they need to take “short trips.”

Considering a large portion of our driving is done within a close proximity to our homes and places of employment, implementing this change into your life could considerably reduce the amount of money you pay for gasoline.

I know some of you out there think this is a waste of time and isn’t worth trying out. So, for those of you who are skeptical of making such a change, I’d like to present to you the argument for the “Two Mile Rule.”

Very simply, the Two Mile Rule says that, when safe, you either walk or ride your bike when you’re going some place within a two mile radius of your home, work, etc. The only exception to this rule would be if you absolutely needed your vehicle – e.g. you’re going to the grocery store and are picking up way too many items to carry home.

Here are the three main reasons why you should follow the Two Mile Rule:

  1. You’ll undoubtedly reduce your gasoline consumption. Obviously, if you’re not driving your car, you’re not going to be using gas. Also, short driving tends to be marred by lots of stop signs, traffic lights, and needless idling, all of which do a great job of sucking gas and reducing your fuel economy. And, like I said before, it’s likely that much of your driving consists of these short trips. If you can eliminate these trips, you should see a significant savings.
  2. Less wear and tear on your vehicle. It doesn’t take a degree in mechanical engineering to know that the more you drive your car, the more wear and tear you put it through. So, if you can reduce the number of miles you drive, you should expect to increase your vehicle’s lifespan, which over the time you own the vehicle, could save you thousands of dollars in repairs, insurance and vehicle replacement cost.
  3. You’ll end up in much better shape. In addition to the health benefits, by losing weight you’ll increase your vehicle’s fuel economy when you do have to get behind the wheel. As you probably already know, for every extra 100 pounds you carry around in your car, you reduce its gas mileage by 2%. So, if you can find a way to lose 25 pounds by being more active (assuming you need to lose the weight), you should see a slight increase in fuel economy.

Over the last couple of weeks, I’ve started to incorporate the Two Mile Rule into my driving routine. Whenever possible I try to walk or ride my bike. I’ve even started riding my bike 16 miles round trip to and from work. A bit outside the two mile radius, I know.

While it was a pain when I first started, I’m certainly glad I kept with it. I feel like I’m in much better shape, I’ve dropped eight pounds and I’ve been able to add a couple of days to each tank of gas. And, considering my car’s starting to get up there in age, I’m hoping that I’m extending its lifespan as well.

On that note, give the Two Mile Rule a try. Your bank account, car and body will thank you.

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