Petroleum… a natural resource that literally changed the world of transportation. It has also become to source of our dependance and despise. Once powerless countries are now thriving metropolises because of the value of petroleum and the power that comes with it… and was there really anything we could do about it? Unless you live in a city where you can get around solely by public transportation… gas can be as important to your costs of living as food and electricity. I mean how else are you supposed to get to work so you can pay the bills?
Thus our dependence on oil severely limits our options when it comes to spending money on gas. I’ve decided to steer clear of the most obvious and perhaps the most difficult changes you could make towards decreasing your need for gas (i.e. carpooling, riding a bike, buying a hybrid/smaller ride etc) and focus on the more practical methods.
All of the tips below are techniques which can be instantly applied to your daily lifestyle and, should you abide by them, you will see an immediate increase in savings! I’ve separated my tips on saving gas into three sections; maximizing your buying power, maintaining your vehicle and changing your driving habits.
REMEMBER: Keep track of how many miles you’re getting per gallon… seeing the benefits from your efforts will strengthen your resolve and should help motivate you to apply more and more of these tips.
MAXIMIZING YOUR BUYING POWER
– Don’t Discriminate On The Gas Station… Name brands are raking in record profits and using additives as an excuse to charge you .10cents more a gallon. Suck it up and buy the cheapo gas… your wallet will thank you.
– Use The Lowest Required Octane… Buying a higher octane gas does not increase your car’s performance. Find out what octane your vehicle requires and don’t go above it… Also, if the gas station doesn’t have the exact number your car needs you can always mix two different levels of octane.
– Don’t Fill Up On The Weekends/Holidays… gas is usually more expensive then.
– Lighten the load… Clean out that Trunk. Lose that roof/bike rack you never use. The heavier your car is the more gas you’ll burn.
– Don’t Top Off Your Tank… When your gas pump clicks, STOP. Don’t keep squeezing every last drop into your car… you will most likely waste that extra gas you’re paying for.
– Don’t Refill Your Gas Until It Is Below ¼… the less the gas you’re hauling around with you the less weight you’re carrying. See above on lightening the load.
– Avoid Evaporation… Yes, gas is literally evaporating out of your car. Try to park your car in the Shade and make sure your gas cap is on TIGHT.
MAINTAINING YOUR VEHICLE
– Tire Pressure… Check it once a week. A tire with low air makes your engine work more to move your car and ends up burning more fuel.
– OIL… Change Your Own (http://www.ehow.com/video_11_change-motor-oil.html)… If you don’t have a good car jack, you can always park your 2 front tires on a curb so you have more room to maneuver down there.
– Use the Manufacturers schedule maintenance guide… NOT the dealer’s.
– Fuel Injector Cleaner… Make sure you occasionally buy a bottle and put in your gas tank before a fill up. This will help clean your engine and make sure it is burning/vaporizing the fuel as efficiently as possible.
– Air Filter… clogged air filters can suffocate your engine
– Alignment/Rotate Your Tires… Have it done at least once a year.
CHANGING YOUR DRIVING HABITS
– Avoid Idling… Starting your car uses the same amount of gas as idling for 6 seconds. Oh, and STOP using drive-throughs all together.
– Drive at a Consistent Speed… Constant starting and stopping is hard on your engine. Use cruise control when possible. Also try to Accelerate Gently.
– Lay off the gas… 45-55 is the best speed per gear ratio for saving gas. It takes 20% to 30% more gas to drive at 70 mph than 50 mph.
– Brake Less… Try to anticipate stopping/slowing a lot sooner and avoid using the brakes when you can safely do so.
– Use a UPS… or track your course ahead of time. This will help you avoid getting lost an should also save you time.
– Avoid Rush Hour Traffic… go grocery shopping, stay at work and look at stuff online, read a book. Sometimes waiting that extra 30minutes can actually save you gas and frustration.
– Turn off Your Air Conditioning at Slower Speeds… if you’re on a highway or just feeling speedy make sure your windows are up, otherwise you’re adding a lot of drag to the car.