Manage Your Gas Budget. With fuel prices climbing ever higher, many drivers are suffering major financial collisions. Thankfully, many vehicle-associated costs are within your control. You can save a lot of money by making a few changes to the way you drive and use gas.
Large, heavy vehicles can burn up to three times as much fuel as small car; so if it’s time for a trade-in, consider a vehicle that is built to get good gas mileage. If you are truly ready to reduce fuel consumption, go for a hybrid car. Since they run on a combination of gasoline and electricity, they are economically (and ecologically) sound choices.
Maintain your vehicle
Preemptive maintenance not only makes for a safer, more secure ride, but keeping all your vehicle’s parts in tiptop shape will extend fuel usage over time. Keep your air filter clean, tires pumped with the right amount of air, the clutch adjusted, and make sure your engine is filled with enough clean oil. Also, since most cars, trucks, and SUVs are built for regular unleaded, don’t upgrade to pricy premium unless necessary.
Before taking off, look for unnecessary, heavy objects you may be carrying both on the exterior and interior of the vehicle. Carting around such items as a tool kit, stereo equipment, and ski or bike racks affect gas mileage. If you don’t need immediate access to the items, store them elsewhere.
Chart your course carefully. Choose the route with the flattest terrain and fewest stops, and if at all possible, avoid traffic jams and stop and go driving. Have a navigation system? Use it to find the quickest path and to avoid wasting gas by getting lost.
Other ways to save gas include (when safe and appropriate), turning the car off rather than idling, traveling the right speed for each gear, and not revving the engine or warming up newer vehicles. Use cruise control on the open road, coast down hills, and accelerate slowly when leaving stoplights. Think twice before turning on the AC too – that blast of cool air means a much quicker visit to the pump. Instead, roll the windows down while driving at low to moderate speeds. (However, the faster you go, the greater the drag – so keep them up when traveling at high speeds.)
Reduce unnecessary trips by combining errands, and bike, walk, or use public transportation whenever possible. If you have neighbors who work in the same general direction as your place of employment, arrange for car pools to share the cost of gas. (After all, you are not the only one who is affected by the rising price of fuel.)
Want more budget-friendly ideas? Call BALANCE at (888) 456-2227. As a benefit of belonging to Nusenda Credit Union, their certified financial counselors will help you put together a workable, individualized spending and savings plan – at no cost to you.
Copyright ©2012 BALANCE
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