Friday, November 16, 2007

Saving Money at the Pump

Easy Ways to Conserve Gas
  • Take It Easy - aggressive driving ruins efficiency as much as anything. Revving the engine, quick acceleration, and high speed travel reduce your MPG a lot faster than you may realize. When applicable, use your cruise control to help keep the RPMs level.
  • Timing is Everything - Stop-and-go traffic, crowded roads, and looking for a parking space are all fuel-burners. Try running your errands outside of rush hours and peak shopping times. With the amount of stores that are open late or 24-hours, you can find most of what you need later or earlier than peak times. Not only can you save time getting there and parking, but it is often cooler at these times so you don't have to run the air conditioner. Try parking as soon as you get into the parking lot (instead of driving around, looking or waiting for the perfect parking spot—that probably doesn't exist anyway!) and walking the distance.

  • Race ya! – when stopped at traffic lights, do not "punch it" when it turns green; rather, come up to speed gradually, especially if you are just "racing" to another red light. Try to time your stops so that you are still rolling ever so slightly or only just stopped when that next light does turn green—it takes more gas to start from a complete stop than it does from a rolling stop.

  • Don't be a "Gas-Brake-Gas" driver—when it's time to slow down, simply take your foot off the gas and let the car coast slower (unless you're about to hit somebody!), especially if you see a red light ahead or traffic slowing down. Give the car in front of you some space, and then you won't have to hit your brakes, either.

  • Use common sense – if you drive a standard transmission, keep your foot on the brake at red lights, instead of "bouncing" or using the gas pedal to keep you from rolling backwards. No "creeping" either—it's hard on the brakes and hard on the transmission, not to mention your fuel economy.
  • Proper Maintenance - Inexpensive do-it-yourself maintenance such as replacing your air-filter and properly inflating your tires, and using only the necessary octane can make a big impact. In addition, using the proper weight of oil and performing scheduled tune-ups can make noticeable improvements as well as keeping the oil topped off at all times.
  • If you have more than one car, use the more efficient one - Sure it is a little harder to squeeze the groceries into that small trunk rather than the back of the SUV, but this may help you afford to get that filet rather than chopped liver (unless of course you like chopped liver).
  • Lighten the load - the weight that an engine has to push directly affects the fuel efficiency. Take all unnecessary items out of your vehicle (you should probably keep the spare tire and related tools). In addition, although most people like going for rides, try to only take those that need to go.
  • Reduce your trips -
    - On the way home stop and pick up what you need so you don't have to go back out later. Use lists so you don't forget anything. Make do with what you have when you do forget something. Call the kids before you leave the store, because they're waiting until you get home to tell you that there's a bake sale at school, and they need you to make 8,000 cookies tonight.
    - Not to support any one type of business, but try to buy what you need at a single location rather than driving to multiple stores (as long as you don't have to drive too much further to get there).
    - Clean out the fridge and cupboard rather than going out for a meal.
    - Order delivery. Sure someone is using gas, but the driver will usually be delivering to multiple people thus having a more efficient trip.
  • "Carpooling, it's not just for work anymore" -
    - Go grocery shopping with your neighbor.
    - Split the dropping off and picking up of the kids with the other parents.
    - Get together with friends and family at each other's homes. This way only some, not everyone, will be traveling.
  • Buy a Locking Gas Cap – Reports from several automotive parts stores report whenever a spike in gas prices occurs they see a run on keyed gas caps. Many of the people purchasing them tell the clerks the same story, "I went out in the morning and my tank had been drained".
  • No Joy-Riding -
    - Remind the kids that driving is a privilege and not a right. The same bike that got them around when they were fifteen probably just needs some air in the tires (and I bet they forgot how much fun it is to pop wheelies).
    - This could be a good time to rebuild the carburetor on your classic weekend driver.
  • Explore More Activities at Home -
    - Pay-per-view or home movies vs. the video store or theater.
    - Yard / Housework: finally clean out that attic / basement or weed that flower bed that keeps bothering you. Just quit procrastinating, already!
    - Athletic Activities: play catch, soccer, bike riding, hiking, jogging, walking, meditation, etc.
    - Misc.: board games, darts, reading, family talk hour, call old friends, write letters (REAL LETTERS!!), hobbies, etc.
  • Explore More Activities Close to Home -
    - A Little League, high school, or youth organization game can be as much fun and a lot cheaper than taking a road trip or driving into the city for a college or professional game.
    - Explore the nature in the parks in your community rather than driving to the larger parks.
    - The local thrift stores can be more interesting than some museums.
    - Community Service - You could perform some roadside beautification (a.k.a. picking up trash) and give smug looks to all those passing motorist who are wasting gas. Or DON'T—ya' snob!

  • Fill up your car or truck in the morning when the temperature is still cool. Remember that all service stations have their storage tanks buried below ground; and the colder the ground, the denser the gasoline. When it gets warmer gasoline expands, so if you're filling up in the afternoon or in the evening, what should be a gallon is not exactly a gallon. In the petroleum business, the specific gravity and temperature of the fuel (gasoline, diesel, jet fuel, ethanol and other petroleum products) are significant. Every truckload that we load is temperature-compensated so that the indicated gallon age is actually the amount pumped. A one-degree rise in temperature is a big deal for businesses, but service stations don't have temperature compensation at their pumps.

  • If a tanker truck is filling the station's tank at the time you want to buy gas, do not fill up; most likely dirt and sludge in the tank is being stirred up when gas is being delivered, and you might be transferring that dirt from the bottom of their tank into your car's tank.

  • Fill up when your gas tank is half-full (or half-empty), because the more gas you have in your tank the less air there is and gasoline evaporates rapidly, especially when it's warm. (Gasoline storage tanks have an internal floating 'roof' membrane to act as a barrier between the gas and the atmosphere, thereby minimizing evaporation.)

  • If you look at the trigger you'll see that it has three delivery settings: slow, medium and high. When you're filling up do not squeeze the trigger of the nozzle to the high setting. You should be pumping at the slow setting, thereby minimizing vapors created while you are pumping. Hoses at the pump are corrugated; the corrugations act as a return path for vapor recovery from gas that already has been metered. If you are pumping at the high setting, the agitated gasoline contains more vapors, which is being sucked back into the underground tank so you're getting less gas for your money. Hope this will help ease your 'pain at the pump'.

~ Some of these tips were derived from and some from, some from an email I must have gotten 43 times already by some guy that has worked on a pipeline for 31 years, and the rest I made up myself based on my own personal knowledge of the industry. ~

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