Save Money This Summer By Starting To Be More Fuel-Efficient Today
If you’ve turned on the news recently, you probably are well aware that the average price of gas is steadily increasing – and that it can be expected to hit some record highs across much of the country this summer. The increase in gas can be largely attributed to heightened demand, OPEC restrictions, and geopolitical turmoil in the Middle East, and analysts are already speculating that it could play a decisive role in November’s presidential election.
But regardless of the role gas prices may play in this fall’s political debates, there’s no question that they will impact every consumer on an individual level. Many Americans are already planning to cancel summer driving trips and cut back on recreational automobile usage. Yet even if you simply drive to and from work every day, there’s still a good chance that you wallet will feel the gas squeeze to some degree. What are you doing to cut down on your gas consumption? And, perhaps more appropriately, what can you do as summer arrives and prices begin to approach their peak?
To answer these questions, here are a few strategies to keep in mind:
Integrate driving trips.
Instead of coming home from work, leaving again to pick the kids up from school, coming home, and then leaving once more to run errands, you can combine all your driving tasks to save both time and gas. All it takes is having some foresight and making a plan.
Find cheap local gas.
Driving five miles out of your way to save 10 cents on gas is not likely to be financially prudent. But if there’s a gas station that’s cheaper than your normal one – even marginally so – and if this station is located near your regular driving routes, making the switch might be well worth it in the long run. You can use sites like GasBuddy.com to scout out the cheapest gas deals in your local area.
Save money while exercising.
If you’re upset by high gas prices and frustrated that you don’t have enough time to work out, you may be able to kill two birds with one stone by running or biking to work instead of commuting by car. If your job is too far away or not conducive to showing up sweaty, you can still start the practice of running to the grocery store on the weekend instead of driving. Warmer summer weather, after all, provides few excuses to abstain from outdoor exercise.
Use public transit when possible.
In most situations the cost of public transit is cheaper than that of driving and maintaining a car, and this is especially the case when gas prices are high. If you have transit options in your area, taking advantage of them even a couple times a week can translate into gas savings over time.
Upgrade to a gas-efficient car.
If you’re looking to save money this summer, the cost of upgrading to a gas-efficient car will certainly be far greater than the expense posed by rising gas prices. But if you’ve been contemplating getting a new car anyways, this spring is the perfect time to make that purchase before summer gas prices hit. Moreover, if you file late taxes you may be able to get some rebates by purchasing a more efficient car.
Carpool to work.
By carpooling with a co-worker to the office you can effectively cut your weekly gas consumption in half. Additionally, many cities have high-occupancy expressway lanes designed specifically for carpoolers. Since traffic usually moves faster in these lanes, you can burn less gas idling in rush hour and save even more in the process.
Commute at off-peak times to save money.
On a similar note, switching up you commuting schedule can have similarly beneficial effects on your wasted gas, total consumption, and aggregate costs. Working from home a day or two a week, if possible, can likely be even more advantageous.
Following one or more of these strategies can hopefully help you cut back on those forthcoming (and substantial) summer gas costs. While it is impossible for many of us to stop using our cars and buying gas altogether, it is certainly possible to reduce this practice and, in the process, chip away at the resulting cost burden.