Money-Saving Tips Offer Relief from Rising Gas Prices
As national gas prices rise for the 32nd consecutive day, reaching a four-month high, the Alliance to Save Energy reminds drivers they can make easy, fuel-efficient decisions.
“While the average U.S. household will spend about $3,400 on gasoline to power its vehicles this year, drivers can minimize their fuel use and costs – and keep more money in their wallets – with our smart driving tips,” said Alliance to Save Energy President Kateri Callahan.
In addition, the Alliance’s Energy 2030 plan offers transportation policy solutions that would annually reduce transportation costs $139 billion and energy imports over $100 billion by the year 2030.
“Gas prices will fluctuate, but we can make personal and collective decisions that lead to huge savings and improve our energy security,” said Callahan. “The Alliance’s Energy 2030 plan and your smart driving choices should be part of the overall energy answer.”
- Avoid aggressive driving. Speeding, rapid acceleration, and rapid braking can lower gas mileage by 33% at highway speeds, wasting $994/year, and by 5% around town, wasting $99/year.
- Avoid speeding. Mileage usually decreases rapidly above 50 miles per hour. DOE says each five mph over 50 is like adding as much as 25 cents per gallon to the price of gas.
- Avoid idling, which wastes a quarter to a half gallon of fuel per hour, depending on engine size and air conditioner use.
- Use cruise control to help maintain a constant speed and, in most cases, save gas and money.
- Engage the overdrive gear to reduce engine speed, which saves gas and reduces engine wear.
- Plan your trips. Combining errands into one trip saves not only time but money, too. Taking several short trips from a cold start each time can use twice as much fuel as one multipurpose trip covering the same distance with a warm engine.
- And don’t forget to beat the traffic. When possible, drive and/or commute during off-peak hours to avoid stop-and-go traffic. You’ll reduce stress as well as gas costs!
- Choose a more fuel-efficient vehicle, whenever possible.
- Consider alternatives to driving solo. Take advantage of carpools and ride-share programs to cut your weekly fuel costs by as much as half – and save wear on your car. Many urban areas allow vehicles with multiple passengers to use High Occupancy Vehicle, or HOV, lanes, which are typically less congested and can further improve your fuel economy.
- Also consider telecommuting from home, if your employer permits it. You can save around $465/year by telecommuting twice a week.
- Look into public transit options, too. The American Public Transportation Association has links to information about public transportation in each state.
- Tune up. Fixing a car that’s out of tune or has failed an emissions test can improve gas mileage by an average of 4%, saving $83 a year. Fixing a serious maintenance problem, such as a faulty oxygen sensor, can improve your mileage by as much as 40%, or over $1,300!
- Keep tires properly inflated to improve mileage by over 3%, or over $60 per year. Proper inflation also improves tire longevity and safety. The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) cautions not to rely on the pressure setting on the tire’s sidewall, but to consult your owner’s manual or look for a sticker on the driver’s side door jamb or in the glove box.
- Use the manufacturer’s recommended grade of motor oil or risk lowering your gas mileage by 1-2%, wasting over $40 annually.
- Get the junk out of the trunk! Remove unnecessary items in your vehicle’s trunk – an extra 100 pounds could reduce your mileage by up to 2%, wasting over $40 per year.
- Also nix a loaded roof rack, which can cut fuel economy by 5%, or almost $100 per year.
- Watch fuel efficiency video tips on the Alliance’s website.
- Find additional tips and resources on DOE’s fuel economy website.
- Michael Timberlake; (202) 448-8758