The price of gas continues to climb, and with continued uncertainty in the Middle East, they will probably continue to do so. In California and elsewhere, prices for some grades of gas have now reached the previously unthinkable three dollars a gallon. Granted, that is lower than the inflation-adjusted prices of early 1981, but that doesn’t make anyone feel better when they’ve just paid nearly $100 to fill the tank of their sport utility vehicle.
In a previous article, we offered some solutions as to how the average consumer can either save on gas prices or use less gas . These tips included using credit cards with cashback rebates, keeping your car tuned and tires inflated, and keeping the car washed and waxed, which reduces drag. Here are a few additional tips which will help ease the strain of filling your tank.
Empty your trunk. Some people drive around with their trunks nearly full with things that just don’t need to be there. Sure, you need a jack and a spare, but do you really need a toolbox, golf clubs, and that pile of old clothes you’ve been meaning to drop off at the Salvation Army? Any extra weight you carry requires additional energy to make your car or SUV move. Lighten the load and your engine won’t work as hard or use as much fuel.
Drive efficiently. That means accelerating gradually, rather than speeding out of an intersection. Your car uses fuel more effectively when you gradually accelerate. Once you achieve your desired speed, keep it steady, using cruise control if you have it. Speeding up and slowing down only uses more gas .
Shift appropriately if you’re driving a car with a manual transmission. Shift at the factory recommended shift points, rather than running your tachometer all the way up before shifting. Your car runs best within a fairly narrow RPM range.
Each of these tips offers a small saving in fuel consumption. When combined with others, they add up and can produce significant savings. If you can increase your fuel consumption by just two miles per gallon, you can save $30-40 on a 1000-mile trip in your SUV. When you’re paying $3.09 per gallon, every penny counts.