To save a gallon of gas, you need to cut about 22 miles of driving from your week. Here are 10 easy ways to do that:
1. Hop on the bus, Gus. Even if you think this is not an option for you, check out PublicTransportation.org. You may be surprised by all the options that you have never considered. Or carpool. Leaving the car at home and sharing your commute occasionally can help you reach your gallon-goal quickly. Sharing the ride—and expense—with another person regularly can cut your gas costs in half. Check out your carpooling opportunities at eRideShare.com and CarPoolConnect.com.
2. Take it easy. The faster you drive, the more gas you use. If your average commute includes 20 miles of highway time and you drive it at 60 mph instead of 70 mph, it will take you only three minutes longer to get there, and you’ll save approximately 1.3 gallons of gas in a five-day work week.
3. Trip-chaining. Need to pick up a prescription, mail a package and go to the bank? Instead of spreading these tasks out over a few trips, chain them together by doing all of them at one time. Park in a central spot and walk from place to place.
4. Shop online. Save the trips to the store, and consider other online services to minimize errands such as banking, buying stamps and paying bills.
5. Drive a sipper, not a guzzler. If you own vehicles of differing size, take the smaller, more fuel-efficient one on any long trips that you can.
6. Take a hike (or ride a bike). Instead of driving everywhere, lace up your sneakers and get some exercise while you save gas. A bicycle can help you rack up car-free miles even faster.
7. Work in your sweats. If you have a job for which working from home is possible, ask the boss if you and your coworkers can telecommute one day a week to save gas. If you are the boss, consider making it a company-wide initiative.
8. Drive as if gas is being rationed. The time may come that you will be allowed only a set number of gallons per week no matter the cost, no matter your needs. Drive now as if you are on a 10-gallons-per-week limit. The practice will do you good.
9. Share school rides. Instead of picking up your kids from school every day, ask a neighbor with kids in the same school to help. You can each take turns picking up the tykes.
10. Keep the trunk light. The heavier the load your car has to carry, the more gas it guzzles. Don’t use your trunk for long-term storage.
How to Trip-Chain
Plan ahead. Take a moment to plan out your route and think about what else you might need to get done.
Make a list. Think about everything that you need and get it all done at once to avoid last-minute trips.
Find the best route. A number of Internet sites can help you plan the shortest, most efficient route. GPS receivers also can help.
Try making only right turns. Studies show that left turns tend to take more time and waste more gas than right turns because drivers often have to wait for traffic to clear and lights to change. Avoid backtracking by following a more efficient, preplanned route.
Combine errands. Pick up your dry cleaning on your way to the grocery store to avoid an unnecessary trip.
Use closer stores. Explore neighborhood shops, and try walking to lunch at a nearby restaurant instead of driving to one farther away.
Group your appointments together. Combine trips to the dentist and doctor when possible.
Consider one-stop shopping. Many stores and shopping centers may offer the opportunity to get all your errands done in just one stop.
Debt-Proof Living was founded in 1992 by Mary Hunt. What began as a newsletter to encourage and empower people to break free from the bondage of consumer debt has grown into a huge community of ordinary people who have achieved remarkable success in their quest to effectively manage their money and stay out of debt. Today, "Debt-Proof Living" is read by close to 100,000 cheapskates. Click here to subscribe. Also, you can receive Mary's free daily e-mail "Everyday Cheapskate" by signing up at EverydayCheapskate.com.