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Easy Ways to Conserve Gas

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author photo by Autotrader March 2008
  • Take It Easy — aggressive driving ruins efficiency as much as anything. Revving the engine, quick acceleration, and high speed travel reduce your MPG a lot faster than you may realize. When applicable, use your cruise control to help keep the RPMs level.

  • Timing is Everything — Stop-and-go traffic, crowded roads, and looking for a parking space are all fuel-burners. Try running your errands outside of rush hours and peak shopping times. With the number of stores that are open late or 24-hours, you can find most of what you need later or earlier than peak times. Not only can you save time getting there and parking, but it is often cooler at these times so you don’t have to run the air conditioner.

  • Proper Maintenance — inexpensive do-it-yourself maintenance such as replacing your air-filter and properly inflating your tires and using only the necessary octane can make a big impact. In addition, using the proper weight of oil and performing scheduled tune-ups can make noticeable improvements as well.

  • If you have more than one car, use the more efficient one — Sure it is a little harder to squeeze the groceries into that small trunk rather than the back of the SUV, but this may help you afford to get that filet rather than chopped liver (unless of course you like chopped liver).

  • Lighten the load — the weight that an engine has to push directly affects the fuel efficiency. Take all unnecessary items out of your vehicle (you should probably keep the spare tire and related tools). In addition, although most people like going for rides, try to only take those that need to go.

  • Reduce your trips
    • On the way home, stop and pick up what you need so you don't have to go back out later.
    • Not to support any one type of business, but try to buy what you need at a single location rather than driving to multiple stores (as long as you don't have to drive too much further to get there).
    • Clean out the fridge and cupboard rather than going out for a meal.
    • Order delivery. Sure someone is using gas, but the driver will usually be delivering to multiple people, thus having a more efficient trip.
      .
  • "Carpooling, it's not just for work anymore"
    • Go grocery shopping with your neighbor.
    • Split the dropping off and picking up of the kids with the other parents.
    • Get together with friends and family at each other's homes. This way only some, not everyone, will be traveling.

  • Buy a Locking Gas Cap — Reports from several automotive parts stores report whenever a spike in gas prices occurs they see a run on keyed gas caps. Many of the people purchasing them tell the clerks the same story, "I went out in the morning and my tank had been drained."

  • No Joy-Riding
    • Remind the kids that driving is a privilege and not a right. The same bike that got them around when they were fifteen probably just needs some air in the tires (and I bet they forgot how much fun it is to pop wheelies).
    • This could be a good time to rebuild the carburetor on your classic weekend driver.

  • Explore More Activities at Home
    • Pay-per-view or home movies vs. the video store or theater.
    • Yard / Housework: finally clean out that attic / basement or weed that flower bed that keeps bothering you.
    • Athletic Activities: play catch, soccer, bike riding, hiking, jogging, walking, meditation, etc.
    • Miscellaneous: board games, darts, reading, family talk hour, call old friends, write letters, hobbies, etc.

  • Explore More Activities Close to Home
    • A Little League, high school or youth organization game can be as much fun and a lot cheaper than taking a road trip or driving into the city for a college or professional game.
    • Explore the nature in the parks in your community rather than driving to the larger parks.
    • The local thrift stores can be more interesting than some museums.
    • Community Service — You could perform some roadside beautification (a.k.a. picking up trash) and give smug looks to all those passing motorists who are wasting gas.


~ Some tips were derived from www.FuelEconomy.gov. ~

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Easy Ways to Conserve Gas - Autotrader