Thursday, March 27, 2008

Gas Prices

Well, since it looks like we'll be staying over $3/gallon for quite a while (and inching up to $4/gal or more), it's time for a gas prices post. Unless you own a hybrid (and I don't), it's costing you roughly a dollar for every 5 miles you drive now. In my life, this means I'm paying a dollar everytime I drive to pick Sierra up from school. Other things in a 2.5 mile radius (5 mile roundtrip)---WalMart (ick, but I find myself needing to go there a few times a year anyway), Lowe's, HEB, Walgreens, Luby's, Brazos Natural Foods....basically everything I need except the pediatrician and family medicine doctors. Josh's work is about 5-7 miles each way. SOOO......Josh's work is an easy bike ride away, and all those other things are perfectly good walking distance with both girls in the jogging stroller. Yes, it takes a bit of time, but I'm combining exercise, recreation and fresh air with my gas saving time. In a couple more months Sedona will be able to support her head and a helmet and then we can bike everywhere. OR, I can spend $1 for each of those trips by car. $1 doesn't seem like a whole lot at face value, but I've been paying attention to what I can buy for $1 besides gas......4lbs of sugar (on sale), 1/2 pound of butter, about 2 lbs of flour, 2 "crack tacos" from jack-in-the-box (I know, they're probably not even food, but they're so addictive), a large Sonic drink at happy hour...you get the idea. Start paying attention to what you can get for a dollar and then remind yourself that you already used that money to drive to the store in the first place.

I do still drive plenty, but we're doing our best to limit ourselves to one tank of gas for each car each month (which comes up to about $100/month). So how to increase gas mileage?

1) Make sure your tires are aired up properly--makes a really big difference right away

2)Coast--or as one article said, drive like you don't have brakes. If there's a red light up ahead, take your foot off the gas and coast to it. Make it a game--can you keep the car moving all the time (less gas to use if you're just keeping a moving object moving)? Don't accelerate quickly. When you get to the street your house is on, coast along at 20mph without touching the accelerator--make use of that gas you already pumped into the engine. Of course, there's a limit to this and even when you're just coasting to a red light somebody's gonna get frustrated with you. Just laugh to yourself and mutter about the poor fool that's wasting their money on extra gas.

3) Drive a little bit slower--Our car's mileage is best at about 65 on highways. Going 70 really doesn't get us there that much faster, but it does use more money.

4) If you have cruise control, use it.

5) If your car has real-time miles per gallon on the dash, use it. Whenever I get in the car, I flip the switch on my dash to see what my average miles per gallon is, then I set it back to real-time mpg and see how much of my drive I can stay above (and therefore raise) my average. Note: don't watch this so much that you're not watching the road ;-)

6) A lot of people say to turn off the a/c, but I live in Texas with two small children....I'm frugal, not a masochist ;-)

1 comment:

Clint & Karen said...

Thanks for the good adivce. It's nice to have everything so close to you that you can walk with a little planning ahead. I wish we were so lucky, the only close store is Target and that means what I don't pay in gas I would be making up for in their high price of food.

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