In today’s struggling economic times, people are constantly looking to save money by cutting things from their lives that are not considered necessities. Fuel is – unfortunately – not one of those things for most of us. Whether it’s getting you from Point A to Point B, allowing you to cook or warming your home, the cost of fuel is a common “must” included in most budgets. This fact creates an unfair advantage to the oil companies, because consumers have very little leverage to keep the cost of gas down. The rising costs of fuel have obviously had a negative impact on our pocketbooks, and excessive fuel consumption has also allowed for a trend to continue that is putting major stress on the environment, as well. IIAoA cares about the strain on both your wallet and the environment, and has compiled the following tips to help keep your gas consumption to a minimum:
- Drive at optimum speed– Did you know that almost all vehicles get the best gas mileage when they are driven at speeds between 40-60 mph? In fact, many modern vehicles have been designed to provide maximum performance at 55 mph, which means drivers would be using less fuel while getting maximum performance from their vehicles at these speeds. Therefore, use these speeds as your goal limits, and stretch out your time between visits to the gas station.
- Gas prices change by location– Have you ever noticed that if you have to get gas right off of a major highway or interstate that the cost is significantly higher than driving even a few miles out of a metropolitan area? While it doesn’t always make financial sense to drive farther our of your way to save a few cents per gallon on gas, start paying attention to the difference in prices in the different areas in which you drive throughout your week. IIAoA is located in Central Florida, and it is not unusual for our employees to be driving in (or out) from another close-by county throughout the work-week. We have found a gas price trend in our immediate vicinity, and have been maximizing savings on gas by filling up in Seminole County before (or after) traveling to the more heavily traveled “Orlando Metro.” Pay attention to the trends in your area – there are several SmartPhone applications that will show you recent gas prices of stations in your zip code, which can also help save a few bucks.
- Get a more fuel-efficient vehicle– This can be one of the best fuel saving tips to follow. If a new vehicle is in your foreseeable future, you’d be wise to check the economy rating and the gas mileage average of different vehicles before making a decision. There are several types of cars and trucks that are infamous for draining your gas supply, just as there are cars designed to save every drop of fuel possible. If your car is a known “gas-guzzler” but you don’t think you can afford more efficient wheels, keep your eyes (and ears) peeled for dealership ads that offer to take these types of cars while providing discounts on newer cars.
- Carpool or use a bike– Why should you use your car to go to the local farmer’s market? The average daily temperatures in Central FL have finally dropped below 90 – enjoy a walk that doesn’t end with an immediate need to shower! Is your kids’ favorite playground close enough for a family bike ride? What about school, sports, or work? Set up a carpool schedule with your neighbors, teammates or colleagues in which you all take turns driving everyone (or everyone’s kids) to and from the places you need to go. Even if you don’t think this will work because nobody in your circle works at the same place, you may be surprised at how willing some people might be to drive a few miles past their own office to drop & pick you up from yours – as long as you are just as willing to do the same for them.
Unfortunately, gas prices are not expected to go anywhere but up as the years go by, and there is very little that we as consumers can do to drive the cost of a gallon of gas down. What we can do is find ways to make our own personal gas bills a little lower, while reducing our “carbon footprint” on the environment.