Monday, April 18, 2011
Experts predict that gas prices will rise well into July, beating the spike of ‘08. How can Americans protect themselves from this ongoing and inevitable highway robbery?
1 Use cruise control: What seems like a simple convenience can also save fuel because the cruise-control system is almost always better at maintaining a steady speed and making smooth transitions when traveling on hilly highways.
2. Avoid buying higher octane gas than your car requires. Higher octane gas is more expensive, and if your car doesn't need it, you're wasting money. Most cars DO NOT require it though the manual will say its "recommended".
3. Keep your tires properly inflated. This can make a huge difference in your gas mileage -- up to 6% loss for every single pound your tire is under-inflated. Check your tire pressure frequently, especially if your tires have a tendency to lose pressure.
4. Consider getting steel-belted radial tires, since they can pay for themselves over time. They can increase gas mileage up to 10%.
5. Drive gently: Accelerating rapidly, speeding and other forms of aggressive driving can cut your fuel economy by 5% in around-town driving and by as much as a third on the highway, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. Slowing down improves fuel economy and is also safer.
6. Don't carry unnecessary items in your car. Every 250 extra pounds eats up an extra mile per gallon.
7. Steer Clear of the Highway - Avoid the convenient gas station on the side of the highway as you drive home from work. Stations close to highways and Interstates charge more for those ideal locations.
8. Save money with self-service whenever possible. And pay cash if there is an extra charge to use a credit card/debit card.
9. Don't let your car idle, either when you warm it up or when you are at a standstill. If you're going to be standing for more than a minute, running your engine wastes more gas than restarting the engine.
10. Buy gas when it's cooler during the day (like the early morning or at night) to reduce gas evaporation.
11. This surprises a lot of people, but don't over-fill your gas tank. You don't want the gas to slosh out or evaporate.
12. Drive the speed limit - Most cars are less efficient at higher speeds. You'll save 2 miles per gallon driving 55 mph rather than 65 mph. That adds up.
13. Another obvious suggestion is to drive less. Combine errands, carpool, and plot out your route beforehand to avoid backtracking whenever possible.
14. Develop good driving habits. For example, accelerate gently, maintain a steady speed rather than speeding up and slowing down, and avoid slamming on the brakes.
15. Keep your windows closed when driving on the highway. Open windows can reduce your gas mileage by as much as 10%. In stop-and-go traffic, open the windows and turn off the air conditioning to save money.
16. Rent fuel-efficient cars when you travel. Research and find reasonably priced places to buy gas before you leave, especially if you'll be driving a lot.
17. Download Some Gas Apps for your phone - If you have a smartphone, there are plenty of free apps that help you find the cheapest gas near your destination. GasBuddy makes it easy with its free app, and Mapquest has an online finder for gas prices.
18. Buy Discount Gas Gift Cards - Did you know you don't have to pay full price for a gift card? Sites like GiftCardGranny.com offer a diverse selection of discount gas gift cards from various card vendors.
19. Be Loyal to Your Reward Card - Grocery stores across the U.S. offer up to 10 cents off per gallon for buying groceries and filling up at their tanks. Some stores offer an additional savings if you pay cash, when combined with your reward card. Just make sure you save your cashier's receipt to get the full savings.
Chris Faulkner is President and Chief Executive Officer Breitling Oil and Gas, a Dallas-based independent oil and gas exploration and production company.