With gas prices approaching $4 a gallon, there’s never been a better time to conserve fuel. The following tips will help you save from $20-$50 a month at the pump. Added bonus? They’ll protect the environment, too, since every gallon of gas burned generates the carbon equivalent of a 20-pound bag of charcoal briquettes!
1. Drive smart – Avoid quick starts and stops, use cruise control on the highway, and don’t idle. (Using cruise control alone can improve fuel efficiency by as much as 14%!).
2. Drive the speed limit – Remember – every 5 mph you drive above 60 mph is like paying an additional $0.10 per gallon for gas.
3. Drive less – Traveling a mile or less? Walk, bicycle, use a scooter or moped. Have lots of errands to do? Combine trips. Researching, making conference calls, and writing? Telecommute, and do those jobs at home.
4. Drive a more fuel-efficient car – Consider one of the new hybrids; at the very least, choose from among the EPA’s "Fuel Economy Leaders" in the class vehicle you’re considering.
5. Keep your engine tuned up – Improve gas mileage by an average of 4.1 percent by maintaining your vehicle in top condition.
6. Carpool – According to the Natural Resources Defense Council, 32 million gallons of gasoline would be saved each day if every car carried just one more passenger on its daily commute.
7. Use mass transit and "Ride Share" programs – Why pay for gasoline at all? (Search "ride share + your city" on the Internet to find options).
8. Keep tires properly inflated – Improve gas mileage by around 3.3 percent by keeping your tires inflated to the proper pressure. Replace worn tires with the same make and model as the originals.
9. Buy the cheapest gas you can find – Buy gas in the morning, from wholesale shopper’s clubs, and using gas-company rebate cards. Track neighborhood prices on the Internet.
10. Support higher fuel-efficiency standards and the development of alternative fuels – Ultimately, our best hope for beating the gas crisis is to increase fuel efficiency while we transition to renewable and non-petroleum based fuels. Endorse efforts to boost average fuel efficiency to at least 40 mpg. Support programs that promote research and development of alternatives to transportation systems based on oil.
For more ways you can save gas and money, see Big Green Purse: Use Your Spending Power to Create a Cleaner, Greener World.