These days filling up the gas tank on my 2003 Chevy Blazer is rather painful.
Gas is currently running about $3.75 a gallon here in Upstate New York, and I’m doing what can be done in the winter months to save money by using less gas!
1. Don’t make unnecessary trips.
There was a time (years back) where I’d run into Binghamton (30 minutes away) to hit the shops just because I was bored and hadn’t been out of the house for a couple of days. Not any more! If I don’t have a real reason that I have to head into town then I stay put!
2. Organize your errands with a plan.
When I do head to town I save up all my errands for the same day. Then I make a list of all the places I need to go and plan my route to have the least amount of backtracking or rushing. Less miles driven means less gas used, and less rushing means driving slower (see #5 below)!
3. Consolidate trips with others.
Carpooling and ride sharing are getting much more common place among my friends. I frequently ask Yankee Bill to stop and run errands for me on his way home from work-after all, he drives right by the store anyway! As an added bonus, I think it’s really sinking in with him how much the grocery prices are sneaking up now that he does some of the shopping for me.
4. Skip the “warming up”.
In really cold weather if I’m making a drive that is going to last less than 10 minutes-say running something up to the school for the kids, or doing an errand here in the village I don’t bother warming up the car-why waste gas and run the car for longer than I’m even going to be in it just to have a bit of heat? Instead I throw on a hat & gloves with my coat. I also keep a couple of old knit blankets in the back of the car. If the kiddos complain about the cold, I tell them to wrap themselves up!
If you have to preheat the car, figure out the minimum time it takes to get it warm and only heat it for that long.
5. Drive slower.
Yes, driving more slowly really does give you better gas mileage. According to FuelEconomy.gov: “You can assume that each 5 mph you drive over 60 mph is like paying an additional $0.27 per gallon for gas.”
6. Use alternate transportation.
Walking or riding my bike are my primary ways of reducing my gasoline usage in the temperate months of the year. Of course I’m not going to walk or bike into Binghamton–but here around the village we can walk to the bank, to church, to the library, even to some friends houses. We try to walk as much as possible. When it’s cold, well, comfort still trumps money at this point.
Hubs will be driving one of his motorcycles to work instead of the car much more frequently this spring and summer. Great gas mileage and lots of fun–but you do need decent weather!
I’d also be a big advocate of public transportation as a way to save gas and money if there were any available! My village does link into the county bus system-but it doesn’t connect in to Binghamton (which is just over the county line). It runs in the other direction and does take us to a town with a Walmart, Weis Market etc. . . but the times are very very inconvenient. One of these days I’ll take the bus just for the experience of it and to write a post, but suffice it to say that in my rural situation that it is just not an optimum alternative.
What methods do you use to try to keep your gas prices down?