Sky-High Gas Prices: What Can You Do About It?
It's hard to feel good about spending when you feel like your bank account is being drained dry each time you leave the gas station.
With every fill-up of my Mitsubishi Outlander, I'm forking over $11 more than I did at the end of last year.
In the last month alone, the price of a gallon of gas has climbed to an average of $3.83, according to AAA, Wright Express and Oil Price Information Service. However, nearly one-third of the nation's drivers in six states, including my home state of California, pay $4 or more a gallon for gasoline.
The four-month climb in prices already has begun to change people's driving habits, according to a survey done by AAA this month. A whopping 84 percent of respondents said they "have already changed their driving habits or lifestyle in some way."
We're not talking about a big change here; many people are just combining errands. But talk of telecommuting is heating up again. Mass transit use increased 2.3 percent last year, according to an American Public Transportation Association study cited in this Washington Post story.
So what can you do to cut your fuel costs and hold on to a little more of your cash? You can start with some of the common sense tips in Gasbuddy's Top Ten Fuel Saving Tips.
1. Take your foot off the pedal. Going just a little bit slower will reduce your aerodynamic drag. Driving 62 mph versus 75 mph reduces fuel consumption by about 15 percent.
2. Do not accelerate quickly or brake hard (if you can help it). Slow and steady can increase your fuel economy by as much as 20 percent.
3. Keep your tires properly inflated. A single tire under-inflated by 2 PSI increases fuel consumption by 1 percent.
4. Use the air conditioning (and defrost) sparingly. Both put extra load on the engine, forcing more fuel to be used (by about 20 percent).
If you're in the market for a new car, check out the U.S. Department of Energy's list of the most fuel-efficient vehicles. Hint: You also might consider going back to driving a stick: Manual transmissions burn less gas, according to GasBuddy.
SecondAct asks: How are you changing your habits and spending to adjust to high
gas prices? Please share your comments below.
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