Summer is halfway over and I am sure we are still looking forward to some summer fun including some outings. We may be looking to go camping, taking a cross country road-trip, visiting family, or just some nice day outings. Everything costs money, and on many breadwinners’ minds is the question, “how much are we going to spend on gas?”
The Gas is so Expensive! According to the EIA the average U.S. price per gallon on August 4, 2014 was $3.515. That is a bit more than 2 cent increase than a week earlier & compared to a year ago a bit more than an 11 cent decrease. Aaron Smith of CNN Money reports that gas prices are currently at a four year low. This good news is in spite of the fall of Iraqi city Mosul to extremist militants back in June this year. Many had what some called “petronoia” as they feared gas prices would spike which they did, for a period of time. According to Gasbuddy.com energy analyst, Tom Kloza, prices will rise throughout the rest of the summer due to both high demand & that August can typically be a month of stormy weather in the Gulf of Mexico which can interfere with the oil refineries down there. Kloza however does expect that prices should begin falling back down again significantly to our four year low average.
Well, what you’re probably thinking is, OK, how does this impact my costs this summer and long term. What can I do to help my situation out by not racking up such a huge gas bill?
The truth is that our salaries aren’t really going up but the products we consume are getting more expensive. A bit unfair but the reality.
So here are some tips for making your summer travels more enjoyable, now that you have some ideas how to save on your gas usage.
How far do you drive?
Can you stay more local? Instead of going on a big road trip, there are dozens of nice attractions & activities that can be done more locally.
Extra baggage, open windows & rooftop accessories:
Do you know that all of these can impact your speed and how much gas your car has to give in order to maintain your driving? Things on your car roof can impact your speed and gas usage just by the wind drag that slows your car down. The car then has to compensate by using more gas.
Speed of travel is also a factor. Stopping and starting on local roads uses extra gas and so does accelerating on the highway. I personally don’t have definitive answers for this one but if you can go 65 mph instead of 75 do it. If you can cruise your car more gently instead of gunning the motor and using the brakes less can also be very helpful. By the way, there are those that say that every 5 mph slower can save 7% of your gas.
What type of car do you drive? I’m not advising you to go out and buy a new car. However, car manufacturers are working very hard and competitively to get more gas per mile you drive. Hybrids can be a great way to go. Analyze your options. What size car do you really need? A bigger car will be heavier and less gas mileage will be the outcome.
Idling: If your car will be sitting for a couple of minutes or you see that you’re in heavy traffic, put the car in park and turn off the engine.
What else: Check your alignment, make sure your tires are inflated, & your vehicle serviced regularly. Make sure your gas cap is tight and not letting fumes escape both hurting your gas mileage & the environment. One more thing, check your air filter. A clean air filter has been known to improve up to 10% in your mileage.
Apps for saving on gas: There is a lot of technology out there that can be taken advantage of as well. Depending on where you are located in your travels, you can make use of maps that demonstrate regions where cost of gas per gallon can be more or less.
Apps from various companies can help as well. Many if not all are free to download. They not only provide you with directions but also which gas station is open when, the best way to get there and other money saving tools as well. These include Gas Buddy app, AAA, Google Maps, Waze & others. Click here for more info.
With this all in mind, I’m sure there is much more to be found & done to save money. So good luck, happy & safe travels, & enjoy!