Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Feeling Gassy?

The other day I heard a report on NPR that said that in more expensive states (like California) gas prices could get to $5 per gallon this year.

I said, out loud, alone, in my car: "WHAT?!?!"

Are you freaking kidding me? I immediately texted a co-worker to see if she wanted to try to start carpooling a few days a week again. I also decided to do some research on how to get better gas mileage. I knew a lot of these, but it was good to remind myself of these simple tips:

1. Get rid of extra weight: no, I don't mean go on a diet (though it couldn't hurt). Carrying around 100 pounds of extra junk in your car (which could add up fast) can reduce your MPG by 2%. So, today I cleaned out my car. I don't think I had 100 pounds in there, but it's a good reminder to keep it cleaned out.

2. No aggressive driving: Avoiding speeding, rapid acceleration, and braking can improve MPG by up to 33%! I wouldn't say I'm incredibly aggressive on the road, but I'm going to try to remember to RELAX behind the wheel.

3. Obey the speed limit. Sigh. This is a weakness. The article I read said that for every 5mph you go above 60 is like paying $0.28 more per gallon. Yikes! I confess that I am a speeder, but I'm going to remind myself of this and try to save some moolah.

4. DON'T IDLE: This means that I need to plug in my cell phone before I start the car. I need to put on my seatbelt before I start the car. I read that idling can use up a half gallon of gas per hour, so it's important not to sit and idle. This seems like something I can work on right away.

5. Leave earlier for work: by cutting down commute time, you can definitely improve your MPG. For me, that means not hitting snooze so many freaking times, and getting out the door a little earlier.

How do you save on gas?


  1. I read somewhere that 30 seconds (I think) of idling is equal to the amount of gas you'd spend restarting your car. I always remember that and whenever I'm going to be waiting, even less than a minute, I turn off my car!

  2. Also you need to give your engine time to warm up and get oil pumping through it when you start up. The oil does not get pre-primed through your enginebefore it starts so if you put the engine under load immediately after starting you're going to cause more wear. Will cost you a lot more in maintenance than it does in fuel!!

  3. These are all great tips! Obeying the speed limit has helped me a lot.

  4. Does leaving earlier for work imply you miss traffic? Or is it suppose to just be a tip to help you with #3 (obey the speed limit...)

    I'm not sure how leaving earlier makes the drive to work any shorter? My commute is the same length regardless of what time of day I do it.

    We have a hybrid, but found that DH's short commute isn't enough to really let it kick in. If gas gets that high, I'll likely take the hybrid and he can have my small car. Another thing that also really helps: don't let it be winter. My average gas mileage per tank goes to like 25 mpg in the winter from 35 mpg in the summer.

  5. @Jessim: Haha, don't let it be winter. :) I miss some traffic if I leave earlier...it's only a fifteen minute difference, but it's less stop and go when I leave at 7:00 as opposed to 7:15. And I always have plenty to do at school, so I really should leave earlier.