[This post is written and copyrighted by FIRE Finance (http://firefinance.blogspot.com).]
Transportation is an integral part of our lives. Consequently we spend quite a large portion of our earnings for finding and sustaining a means to meet our transportation needs. But on careful reflection we felt we could save our hard earned dollars spent on purchasing gas aka "gas money". How? We came up with a few simple concepts of doing so.
Image Source(s): iStockPhoto
- By avoiding the use of our cars whenever possible
- Optimizing our needs so that we can club together a bunch of errands in one trip as well as save on the driving time
- Maintaining our vehicle in proper shape
- Developing good driving habits
- Finding the best deals on gas in town
AVOIDING the use of our cars whenever possible
- Remote Work: If we can work from our homes at least once (if not more) during each week, it can save us a substantial amount of money. Not only does this act save money but it also puts our minds at ease since we do not have to drive in rush hour traffic plus we get to work from the calm ambiance of our homes.
- Walk: If our work places are a few blocks away from our homes, the best solution is to walk. Walking is great for our health too.
- Cycle: Some people have the advantage of living within short distances of their offices. In these cases it is best to shed off our laziness, purchase a bicycle and commute to work on it. Not only does it save gas money but it also gives us precious exercise. If we can stretch it, we can do away with our gym memberships, thus saving more money. The environment will thank us too :).
OPTIMIZING driving time and tasks
- Live Close To Work: If we cannot afford to live within walkable or cycle able distances to our work place, we should plan to get a place which is a short drive away. It will save us gas money as well as tonnes of driving time.
- Avoid Rush Hour Traffic: During the days that we have to drive to work, it is best to plan ahead to avoid the rush hour traffic. Traffic jams along with stop and go driving not only wastes gas, it also shortens the lives of our cars. Compare that with the peace that emanates when we go to work early and also leave early. Another plus is that it saves us time which we can devote to our families.
- Efficient Route To Work: Plan and chalk out an efficient route to work that will cut back on the driving time, effort and gas.
- Group Tasks: Organize tasks in such a way that they can be accomplished with the fewest trips. Club together all tasks belonging to the same geographic location in one trip instead of doing a few of them daily after work.
- Car Pool: One of the best ways to save gas and driving is to car pool. Network with friends, family or neighbors to work out on a carpool solution and then take turns in driving. It is also a nice way of sharing some time with our friends.
MAINTAINING our vehicle in proper shape
- Regular Maintenance: A vehicle in great shape uses less gas than one in poor shape. So go for regular oil changes, air filter changes, routine and recommended maintenance to keep your vehicle in top form.
- Keep Your Tires Inflated: This is a great tip for safe driving and stretching the lives of your vehicle's tires. Also it will save you some gas dollars.
- Remove Excess Weight: Clear excess stuff from your vehicle to reduce the driving load which in turn will save gas.
- Fuel Efficient Cars: The best way of saving gas is to purchase a fuel efficient car which is light weight by design. The difference between a car that gets 20 MPG and one that gets 30 MPG amounts to $744 per year (assuming 15,000 miles of driving annually and a fuel cost of $2.97). That's $3,720 extra in fuel costs over five years! Here are more tips on how to choose a fuel efficient car.
DEVELOPING good driving habits
- Drive Slower: Driving within speed limits and avoiding speeding is a great way to save on gas as well as improve our chances of not having a car accident.
- Easy on the Brakes and Acceleration: Minimizing the use of brakes and gentle acceleration leads to a steady drive which saves fuel. Starting and braking fast is bad for fuel economy.
- Higher Gears: Avoid driving fast on lower gears, its kills fuel efficiency. Try to drive on higher gears whenever possible.
- Use Cruise Control: Cruise Control is a proven way to save gas since it cuts down on the heavy use of brakes and acceleration thus leading to a steady driving speed.
- Cut Down On Idling: Idling gets us zero miles per hour. So if we see that we are going to idle for a minute or less then we should leave the engine on else turn it off.
- Roll Up Windows On A Highway: If we roll down our car's windows while driving fast on a highway, it creates a strong drag which is not good for fuel economy. Contrary to popular belief it is more fuel efficient to turn on our air conditioners on the highway and roll down our windows when we are driving slow on local roads in the town.
FINDING the best deals on gas in town
- Keep an eye for the best gas price: While driving to and fro from work we keep an eye for the cheapest price of gas. Also it might be a good idea to check out sites like gas buddy before filling gas.
- Use Rewards Cards: Most gas credit cards offer rewards or cash back for using it to fill gas. We use them to pocket a neat 5% cash back on all our gas purchases. It saves us hundreds of dollars each year.
- Avoid buying hot gas: Gas expands with heat. So buy it when it is relatively cooler i.e. during early morning hours or evening. Else you will end up paying for more gas and getting less.
- Park In Cool Places: A hot car leads to evaporation of gas. So make it a point to park your car in a garage or cool places like the shade of a tree when you park outside.
- Do not top off: Topping off gas is not a good habit since it leads to spills or waste.
Image Source(s): iStockPhoto