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Farmers Almanac
The 2014 Farmers Almanac
Farmers' Almanac

Winning the Gas War

Today, I filed my gas tank at $3.799. There was a sense of relief that it wasn’t $4.00, and maybe we are seeing a slow decline in prices but it still hurts. In college I could fill my Chevy Vega with 10 gallons for only $3.30. Now, that doesn’t get me one gallon. Thanks to my Yankee heritage, I am frugal, and there if there is a way to get more for my gas dollar, I will try to find it.

Here are a few suggestions:

1. Pump gas in the early morning or evening hours. Gas has greater density when it is cooler. This is particularly true during summer months.
2. Make sure your tires are properly inflated. The recommended levels can be found on the inside of the driver’s side door.
3. Go easy — ever see someone peel out when the light turns green or slam on the brakes at a red light or stop sign. Go easy, you’ll get there eventually. And, keep an eye on the RPM gauge. It indicates how hard your engine has to work.
4. Use cruise control when driving on a highway.
5. Plot your trip. Make sure you know the shortest direction between places. GPS devices saves a lot of wandering around.
6. Whenever you aren’t moving, turn off the ignition. I do it at bank windows, ATMs and other places….even when running into a store. You waste a cup of gasoline for every five minutes your engine idles.
7. Driving with unnecessary weight costs too — 1% for every 50 lbs. So don’t haul around tools or heavy baggage. Maybe Aunt Millie might lose a few pounds?
8. There are many websites that give gas information for your community. Before heading out, find the best buy within your commute. In my town there is a difference of $.20 a gallon between the cheapest and next lowest station

I am on a one man crusade to get my community of 40,000 to put all traffic lights on red/ yellow blinking mode in the evening and overnight when there is little traffic. We need traffic control during the daytime, but after people go home there is no need to sit waiting for a light to change color. It just kills me to sit there wasting fuel.

If you have any fuel saving ideas, share them with us. We can win this war!

2 comments

1 Annie { 10.17.12 at 8:22 pm }

Hi there! Having my wedding in Baltimore, MD June 29, 2013… Please tell me it will not be 100 degrees! Thanks!! :-)

2 TheMaineMan { 06.22.11 at 6:30 pm }

Another big one: make sure that your vehicle’s air filter is clean. A dirty air filter can reduce your fuel economy by 10%, but it only costs about $10 on average to replace. Most car owner’s manuals show you how to replace it yourself… it’s easy to do. If you can’t do it, I guarantee you’ll know someone who will. Most books recommend replacement every 15,000 miles, but honestly you can usually get away with cleaning your existing one with a shop-vac and put it back in, good as new. It’s more eco-friendly as well!
Also if your engine is out of tune, it will kill your fuel economy.
And don’t ignore a bad oxygen sensor… that can reduce fuel economy by 30-50% and is worth replacing with gas prices so high!
Mythbusters also proved that if you’re going 45 mph+ you’re better off running the A/C than having windows down. Having windows down creates extra air drag which makes your vehicle work harder to achieve desired speed (and thereby use more gas).

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