Ever since gasoline prices began resembling roller coasters, so many of us have been trying to figure out a way to get ahead of the curve. After years of trying to discern the patterns of rise and fall, I had to give up simply to preserve my sanity. Case in point: Just last week I was in the car with someone who had a cell phone app that notifies him before local gas prices increase. By the time we passed the first gas station less than 10 minutes later, the price had increased 20¢ per gallon. So rather than trying to predict the unpredictable, I have opted to do what I can to reduce the amount of gas I put in the car. I will be sharing these new habits with you through a new series called Pump Up The Savings.
The first tip is to make sure that your gas cap is on tight. Gasoline is very volatile, so the vapors escaping will deplete the volume of gas in the tank even when the vehicle is not running. This becomes all the more important as the outside temperature rises. A loose gas cap can result in a 10% reduction in mpg.
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Running errands is an activity that most of us do on a weekly basis. We have already discussed the importance of having a plan before shopping, including the use of weekly ads provided by retailers. Once you have done your research and made a list, there is value (both in time and money) in giving some thought to the order of your stops. Rather than driving around in circles or across town and back again, take a few minutes to plan your stops in as much of a straight line as possible. When deciding which end to start (closer or further from home) take into consideration whether you will be purchasing perishable items that you don’t want to leave in the car too long. In the winter months this could include items that you don’t want to freeze. If your grocery store is right in the middle of your route it might be advantageous to put a cooler in your trunk to store these items or invest in insulated shopping bags.
The quickest return on your investment is the money you will save on gas. At current gas prices, saving just a few miles of travel time will add up quickly. Added savings comes because less travel means less wear-and-tear on your vehicle which means less money spent on maintenance.
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