I don’t know about you, but these $75.00 trips to the gas station are getting to me. It would be more than $75.00, but Wells Fargo in it’s infinite wisdom, cuts me off at $75.00 and stops the pump. I have a 2007 GMC Envoy, which on a good day gets about 18 miles to the gallon. This means that for every mile I drive I am spending 25 cents. I’ll spend more per mile as the price of gas continues to go up. I notice that my pay check is not going up commensurately, and I am sure that yours is not either.
So, since I still have about 2 more years of payments left on the car, getting a hybrid is not an option, yet. So, I need to get this under control and soon! I did some research and have come up with some ideas to improve the fuel economy of my car. They may help you too. Here they are, in no particular order:
1. Go slower! Remember the 70s? When we had a national speed limit of 55? There was a reason for it then and there is a reason for it now. Opinions vary on how much a drop in speed will save, but it is worth doing. Ignore the one finger waves and the angry horns from your fellow drivers. 🙂
2. Easy does it. Don’t mash the pedal to the floor when you start out. A slow acceleration will save gas. On short trips around town the extra time that it costs you to start up slowly and brake gently won’t amount to more than 5 minutes or so. More than enough time to make another hands free call to a client
3. Don’t idle your engine. If you are sitting with the engine running, turn it off.
4. You don’t need to warm that car up here in California. Start the engine, fasten your seat belt, and adjust the mirrors and go.
5. Cut down on the drag. Put the windows up, close the sun roof and take off the luggage rack! If you have a pick up truck, open the tailgate or remove it all together.
6. Take everything out of your trunk except for the spare and the jack. Do you really need all of the stuff that you haul around? I don’t think so. Remember, all of your forms are on line (so you can ditch that box of forms that are probably outdated anyhow) and if you have been a regular reader, you know how to work remotely by now.
7. Check that you have your tires inflated properly. Don’t over inflate as that will affect handling, safety and tire wear. Under inflation also increases drag and therefore lowers fuel economy.
8. Maintain your car! Change the oil according to the manufacturers specifications and at the same time change your air and fuel filters. Have your wheels aligned and replace any worn tires. Keep the engine tuned up and get to know your local mechanic. With all the extra money that they are going to make keeping all of our cars in great shape they can probably afford to buy a house from you.
9. This is a long shot, but keep the exterior of the car clean and have it waxed from time to time, as this will also cut down on air drag.
10. Finally, a car gets its best economy when it is in the garage. Try to combine trips. Plan “round-robin” trips where you get everything done in one or two trips. A really great technology tool for this is Microsoft Streets and Trips. This program allows you to input a list of stops and then arrange them visually so that you can create an economical trip routing.
11. Keep track of what you are doing so that you can see how effective you are at saving at the pump. By doing this, you can do more of what works and back off on what isn’t working. Here is an online tool that will help with that: http://www.FuelFrog.com
All though I have been somewhat whimsical in this post, the ideas are sound, and if you implement these ideas, you will save money at the pump because you will be visiting it less often!
Let me know what ideas you have for saving gas and I’ll share them with the other readers.