It happens every summer. Fuel prices climb along side the rising summer temperatures here in the Northern Hemisphere. And, until we all start driving our hydrogen powered cars, our budgets will continue to need an ever expanding slot for gasoline purchases.
What to do this summer? Fight back! Here’s how.
10 ways to fight rising gas prices this coming summer of 2012
1. Go on a Staycation
This might be a little difficult if you live out in the middle of nowhere, but for most of us, we live close to places that are considered ‘Tourist Destinations’. Why not join all those out-of-town tourists at the local attractions and save your petrol dollars and airfare while you’re at it?
2. Avoid Rush Hour
This goes for every destination you drive to. Shopping? Try Friday mid-morning instead of Thursday evening or Friday night. Commuting to work? Find an alternative less crowded route or commute time. Consider tele-commuting part-time if your career lends itself easily to this.
3. Drive an Older Fuel Efficient Car
Really? But, I thought newer cars were more fuel efficient.
Not always. A 1994 Honda Civic can get 40MPG+. And you’ll save a bundle by buying it cash instead of making payments on that latest hybrid vehicle. These last awhile too. My 17 year old Honda is just crossing the 300,000 mile mark and still running strong.
4. Buy Online
You might argue the fact that the UPS or FedEx truck is burning up fuel. But they’re on a route with multiple deliveries making them more efficient than your one item run to the store. Amazon’s Prime Membership pays for itself pretty quickly when you are ordering household goods at Costco bargain level prices. And they arrive on your doorstep two days later.
5. Use GPS
Alright, I’ll admit it, I don’t like asking for directions; unless of course, it is from my non-human GPS unit. I paid around $150 for a refurbished car GPS a few years ago and it has paid for itself more than once in time and fuel savings. Most smart phones these days have a GPS chip built-in, or you can find a vehicle mountable unit on Amazon for a very reasonable price.
6. Car Pool
This one definitely works for commuting to work. But what about camping trips or vacation destinations? Just the two of you? Why not bring along another couple on your weekend road trip and split the fuel costs? Just don’t fight over the more comfortable front seats.
7. Shop Around for Fuel
Most of us shop around for many of the big ticket items we buy, to get the best price. You can do the same with petrol. At times, I’ve found fuel priced almost a dollar apart at gas stations only ten miles from each other. Use a smart phone app like GasBuddy to find the best gasoline deals near you.
8. Keep it Tuned
Not the radio. I meant your car. Regular oil changes, air filter changes and other general maintenance will keep your car in top fuel performance shape. Don’t forget to check those tires. You’ll not only save on fuel, but your tires’ life span will be extended as well.
9. Close your Windows. Or not.
Keeping your windows closed at high speeds reduces aerodynamic drag. Yes, you may need the AC, but air-conditioning works pretty efficiently at speeds higher than 50MPH. The reverse is true if you are just driving around town. Roll down those windows and nix the air con. The compressor will thank you and your fuel mileage will be better.
OK, I threw this one in for kicks. It requires a lot more driver attentiveness than just putting your vehicle on cruise and relaxing in the driver’s seat. Basically you drive directly behind a large commercial vehicle like a semi-truck. The truck creates an aerodynamic path through the air for you and less drag equals better fuel economy. Of course, if you find yourself braking at all to keep the correct distance, your savings are probably being negated. But, on a flat stretch of road with no traffic and a strong head wind (ie the Midwestern US), I’ve used this method to save on gas consumption.