7 Ways to Beat $4 (and higher) Gas Right Now

June 14, 2008


The national average gas price hit a record $4.02 recently (and some states pay much higher than that). How can we beat high gas prices? Well, I’m not sure if you can really beat outrageous gas prices but you can sure take some steps to try and make your gas go further. Here are some ways you can stretch that dollar and help save on gas!

1. Slow down!

You lose approximately 4 mpg for every 10 mph over 65 that you drive. That may not seem like much but it adds up. Based on $3.25 a gallon you would be paying 54 cents more per gallon! That would be even higher based on a $4.02 a gallon gas price! So slow down and avoid hard acceleration and braking.

Not only that, aggressive driving (which includes speeding and tailgating) accounts for 56 percent of fatal crashes. There are approximately 5 fatal crashes every hour nationally. More than half of those fatally injured did not wear their seatbelt. So the public safety announcement for today is to buckle up and slow down!

2. Stop idling!

If you’re going to stop for more than 30 seconds, turn off your engine. Every minute spent idling burns a half-mile worth of gas. So when you’re at that drive-thru, turn off your engine! In fact, don’t even use the drive-thru, you lazy bum.

3. Inflate your tires!

Most drivers never check their tire pressure and drive on dangerous tire pressure levels. Tires already lose air in time and temperature. Under-inflated tires decrease fuel economy, can be bad for handling, and could even cause a high-speed blow-out due to increased heat.

4. Turn off the A/C!

Okay, it is true that using the A/C will decrease fuel economy. At lower speeds, it is more economical to roll down the windows. As speed increases, however, the increased drag and wind resistance makes the A/C the more efficient choice.

5. Lose weight!

Remember that extra weight cuts fuel economy, so hit the gym and lose some weight (just kidding). Every 100 pounds decreases fuel economy by about 2% according to the EPA. So clean out your car periodically and see what you can toss. You’d be surprised at what you’ll find!

6. Cruise!

Using your cruise control at 77 mph can improve fuel economy by 10 to 15 percent. Of course, this doesn’t apply to city driving, but for long road trips and highway driving with little traffic, cruise control makes sense! Avoid using cruise control when you’re tired or sleepy, though. You just might fall asleep and that’s not good.

7. Don’t Drive!

Here’s a great way to save on gas; don’t drive! Sometimes that’s not possible, but there are still some things you can do like taking public transportation, carpooling, walking or biking. Always ask yourself whether the trip is necessary. Consolidate errands and trips into one trip. Go to the farthest stop first to warm up your engine and reach optimal efficiency. Then make your other stops on the way back home.

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