At $74 US a barrel today, consumers are being financially wounded. Unfortunately, we don't have many practical alternatives when it comes to cars. But it makes one wonder why it's taking so long to get other real energy options going in our society. Could it possibly be that President Bush may have some oil connections, and they are fuelling the "dependence" on oil? Well, you powerful oil execs, presidents, sheiks, "you have contributed to an earthly mess, slick!" Regular people have too, but mainly because we are not given much choice to power our vehicles. There is next to nothing in infrastructure for other forms of energy. The hybrids are a start, but the extra amount you pay for the vehicle hardly makes it worthwhile. So what can we do? Here are some common sense things to help us consumers, consume less:
Here are suggestions on saving money on gas prices:
1. Always keep your car tuned up and in good repair. We've all seen cars driving down the road that leak gas -- what a waste! A poorly tuned car can use up to 25% more gas.
2. Avoid buying higher octane gas than your car requires. Higher octane gas is more expensive, and if your car doesn't need it, you're wasting money.
3. Keep your tires properly inflated. This can make a huge difference in your gas mileage -- up to 6% loss for every single pound your tire is under-inflated. Check your tire pressure frequently, especially if your tires have a tendency to lose pressure.
4. Consider getting steel-belted radial tires, since they can pay for themselves over time. They can increase gas mileage up to 10%.
5. Remove snow tires after the winter season, since they require more fuel.
6. Don't carry unnecessary items in your car. Every 250 extra pounds eats up an extra mile per gallon. Another good reason to clean out the trunk...
7. You might want to buy your gas at the stations that at least give you some points or "money" back, e.g., Esso, Canadian Tire.
8. Save money with self-service whenever possible. And pay cash if there is an extra charge to use a credit card.
9. Don't let your car idle, either when you warm it up or when you are at a standstill. If you're going to be standing for more than a minute, running your engine wastes more gas than restarting the engine. Don't use your remote starter in the summer, no need - it drinks more gas unnecessarily.
10. Buy gas when it's cooler during the day (like the early morning or at night) to reduce gas evaporation.
11. This surprises a lot of people, but don't over-fill your gas tank. You don't want the gas to slosh out or evaporate.
12. This is probably obvious -- but slow down. Most cars are less efficient at higher speeds. You'll save 2 miles per gallon driving 55 mph rather than 65 mph. That adds up.
13. Another obvious suggestion is to drive less. Combine errands, carpool, and plot out your route beforehand to avoid backtracking whenever possible.
14. Develop good driving habits. For example, accelerate gently, maintain a steady speed rather than speeding up and slowing down, and avoid slamming on the brakes.
15. Keep your windows closed when driving on the highway. Open windows can reduce your gas mileage by as much as 10%. In stop-and-go traffic, open the windows and turn off the air conditioning to save money.
16. Rent fuel-efficient cars when you travel. Research and find reasonably priced places to buy gas before you leave, especially if you'll be driving a lot.
Finally, here's a bonus tip:
17. Consider buying a car that gets better gas mileage when you choose your next car. This can save you a great deal of money over time.
18. Compare cars for best gas mileage.
19. Walk or ride your bike more to work, or just simply to be healthier. When warm weather finally arrives, take advantage of the outdoors.
20. Remember, demand drives up prices, so the less demand we as a population have, then prices won't be continually gushing skyward. Using local store logic, if a product is not selling so much, it goes on sale.
It's up to each individual to do whatever they choose, but when many people demand oil and gas less, it will affect profits of oil companies, and prices at the pump.
Finally we can also do our part to lobby government to facilitate or promote other forms of energy development - and that's not being crude.