This is the second installment in a three-part series focusing on
important ways you can save money on food, fuel, and fun.
Oil will soon hit $150 per barrel, sending additional shock waves through an already battered economy. With a gallon of diesel fuel at $5 in certain areas now, the financial livelihood of some is being threatened.
We cannot count on fuel prices retreating any time soon and the chances of prices staying permanently above $4 per gallon are quite high. That being said, high fuel prices isn’t a good reason for people to panic (is there really ever one?) as making rash decisions will cost you more in the long haul.
Most of the tips I have read about saving gas are very practical such as driving less, combining trips/errands, and keeping your speed down. Others are silly or even dangerous and include hypermiling (driving the car in neutral with the engine off while coasting) and trying to get your car to run on water.
Instead of following the folly du jour, might I suggest you consider:
Working From Home — If you have a long commute and are getting whacked by high fuel prices, is there any way that you can do your work from home? If not every day, how about once weekly? Or, can you work four long days instead of five shorter work days?
Carpool — Meeting up with people to ride to work is such a drag. It can also save you gas money, wear and tear on your vehicle, and extend the life of your car. In some jurisdictions you could even get a tax break or your company could if they supply the van and everyone shares the cost of gas.
Mass Transit — People who live in major metropolitan areas already have access to mass transportation, while smaller cities, exurbs, and rural areas do not. You might find that flying, taking the train, or a bus to your destination is much more cost effective than driving. If taking mass transit on a daily basis isn’t doable, consider once or twice weekly.
Trade In Your Wheels — If you are still making payments on your SUV, truck, or other large vehicle and desperately want to get something more efficient, I have news for you: you stand to lose thousands of dollars if you switch now. How so? The value of all gas hogging vehicles has dropped significantly, meaning you’ll probably still owe money on your truck when it has been traded in. Better to find ways to shave the amount of miles you drive than to get rid of a vehicles that isn’t worth what you thought it was worth. On the other hand, if you are ready to buy new now is the time to shop: deep discounts on even fuel efficient vehicles are now being offered.
Avoid the aftermarket parts schemes which promise you ten, twenty, even thirty percent or more in fuel savings, a “special” additive, or anything else that sounds risky, even weird. Driving slower, using a lower grade of gas where feasible, and combining errands are some great ways to save gas. High fuel prices are a fact of life, but they don’t have to rule your life either.
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