Save Gas, Save Money, Image by Steve Kaye

Most people could save a lot of money on gas.

The tricky part is: It’s easy to ignore how much you spend on gas.

For example, one fast start could cost ten cents. Aggressive driving could cost a few dollars per day. And sitting in your car with the engine running can cost as much as driving the car.

All of this can add up to costing (wasting) hundreds (maybe thousands) of dollars per year.


Here’s how to save money on gas:


1) Shut It Off

Do: Turn off the engine as soon as you park.

Do: Turn off the engine any time when you have to wait for more than a few minutes, such as at a railroad crossing.

Bonus Do: Start the engine after you lock the door and fasten your seat belt.

Never: Leave the car parked with the engine running. This wastes gas and makes your car an easy target for thieves.

Never: Use the remote start feature. This wastes gas.

Important: Two minutes of letting the engine idle is equal to driving a mile – Unless you’re running the air conditioning, then it’s more.

—> Some people drive a thousand miles without moving an inch.

I’ve seen people waste more than $15 worth of gas while they slept or ate a meal in a their truck with the engine running. If they did this every day, that adds up to wasting thousands of dollars every year.

Once I mentioned this to a fellow, and he told me it was okay because his company pays for the gas. —> Note: If this man works for you, he’s wasting your money.


2) Leave It Off

Save gas by not using your car. (I’ll bet you knew that.)

For example:

Do: Shop by phone or over the Internet.

Do: Walk for local errands.


3) Change Time Zones

Do: Travel when others are less likely to be on the road. If your company allows flex time hours, choose a time window that avoids driving during rush hour.

Do: Shop early or late in the day.

In both cases you’ll encounter less traffic and find shorter lines in the stores.


4) Drive Smart

Do: Drive carefully, allowing enough room for an emergency stop. You’ll save money, feel better, and provide an enjoyable ride for your passengers.

Note: Aggressive drivers cause accidents. And accidents cost more than gas. ( Really. )

Note: Driving close behind the car ahead of you often causes the driver to go slower. And it distracts (even scares) that driver, which could cause an accident.

Note: I brake for children, pets, trash on the road, and (even) squirrels.


5) Pretend That You Are Riding a Bicycle

Do: Imagine that you’re the engine. So avoid quick starts and racing to a stop because this wastes energy.

Do:  Start gradually and coast to a stop.

Do: Take your foot off the gas when you’re approaching a red light. Then let the car coast to a gradual stop.

Note: Quick starts use a lot more gas.

Note: Studies have shown that aggressive driving saves, at most, minutes. I often see people race past me, and then stop at the red light ahead. Then they race to the next red light. And so on. All of this wastes gas.


6) Be stingy

Do: Evaluate every trip for its importance.

Do: Combine errands into a single outing. Then start with the most distant destination. This way, you’ll warm up your engine while driving there. And you’ll get better mileage between the other stops as you drive toward home.

Do: Plan your trip so that you drive in an efficient loop, instead of going back and forth.

Do: Join a car pool for commuting to work or taking your children to school.

Do: Walk with your children. (The exercise will benefit all of you.)

Do: Use public transportation. Then you can use the travel time for reading, planning, or relaxing. Often public transportation costs less than gas plus parking.


7) Travel Light

Do: Carry only what you need in your car. Extra weight wastes gas.

Do: Remove flags and decorations. These cause added drag, which wastes gas.


8) Shop Smart

Do: Before driving far to a special ( e.g., “Discount” ) store, estimate the cost of gas plus the value of your time. Then compare those costs with the savings that you expect. For example, would it be worth spending an extra hour of your time plus a gallon of gas to save $5?

Do: Shop from stores close to home.


9) Keep Your Car Healthy

Do: Buy routine tune ups.

Do: Fix problems as soon as you notice them. Follow the manufacturer’s maintenance schedule.


10) Maintain tire pressure

Do: Make sure the tires are properly inflated.

 (Soft tires use more gas.)

Do: Buy high mileage (or at least ordinary) tires. Big, extra thick tires use more gas.


11) Bonus: Story about Cars, Dating, and Money

Once a young man told me that he planned to buy a big truck to impress women.

Let’s recognize that this truck will cost more than a car and use more gas. The difference could be $500 per month (give or take a few hundred).

He will impress women more by buying a fuel-efficient car and investing the money he saves. Then he might have a million dollars (give or take a few hundred thousand) by the time he retires. – – -> Note: If someone were to invest $500 per month starting in their 20s or 30s, they would have saved a small fortune by retirement.


Helpful Tip

Avoid buying a low mileage vehicle.

As the world moves toward renewable energy, the resale value of low mileage vehicles will drop.

Better: Buy a fuel efficient vehicle that has a future.


The Price of Gas

By the way, the price of gas is set by the corporations that sell gas. And the price of oil is set by OPEC, commodity traders, and the oil companies.

The price of oil will fluctuate based upon supply and demand, plus market uncertainties (similar to the stock market).

The president of the United States (and any country) does not control the price of gas.

However, if everybody used less gas, this would result in an over supply, and in turn lower prices.


Want to Know More?

These two organizations are working to reduce the use of gas. See:

360.org

Climate Reality Project