This past week the gas prices here in Minnesota have been rising, and are now getting dangerously close to $4 a gallon. I’ve been trying to conserve gas, but this week my frugal ways may have gotten the better of me. I thought – I’ll wait one more day to fill up – I have enough gas for another day. Maybe the prices will drop by then? (wishful thinking I know).
Well, I ended up running out of gas on my way to work yesterday (How could i not have seen that coming? who knew empty really means empty?). Luckily I was able to coast into the gas station to fill up, and didn’t have to walk 10 miles to the nearest pump. I’ve had that happen before, and its no fun.
So if you need to get gas, just go fill up You’re not going to save enough money to make it worth your while, I promise!
Today on CNN Money i found some more practical ways to save money on gas. They gave 6 ways that people waste gas, and things you can do to improve your mileage:
6 Big Time Gas Wasters
- Racing away from green lights: When the light turns green, you don’t have to take off as quickly as possible. That pedal under your right foot is called the “gas pedal” for a good reason. The more you press down on it, the more gas you’re pumping into the engine. Press lightly on the gas pedal, and you’ll still accelerate, and you’ll still get where you’re going. You might be surprised at how little pressure it takes to get your car up to speed in a reasonable time.
- Racing up to red lights: When you’re driving down the street, and you see a light red light or stop sign up ahead, you should lay off the gas sooner rather than later. There’s no point in keeping your foot on the gas until just before you reach the intersection. Let off the pedal sooner and give your engine a rest as you coast to the stop while braking gently. As an added benefit, your brake pads will last longer, too. By themselves, these first two tips can improve your fuel economy around town by as much as 35 percent, according to tests conducted by automotive information Web site Edmunds.com.
- Confusing the highway with a speedway: Even if it doesn’t involve hard acceleration, speeding wastes gas. The faster you go, the more air your vehicle has to push out of the way. It’s like moving your hand through water. The faster you try to move your hand, the harder the water pushes back. In tests by Consumer Reports, driving at 75 miles per hour instead of 65 miles per hour reduced fuel economy by between 3 and 5 miles per gallon, depending on the vehicle.
- Bumper-buzzing: Tailgating is a bad move for many reasons. First of all, it’s unsafe. You reduce your ability to react if the car in front of you slows or stops. It also means you have to pay ultra-close attention to that car which reduces your ability to scan for other hazards ahead of you and to the sides. And tailgating wastes gas. Every time the driver ahead taps his brakes, you have to slow down even more than he did. (That’s because you can’t react immediately so you have to slow even more because you’re slowing down later.) Then you accelerate again to get back up to speed and resume your bumper-buzzing routine.
- Driving standing still: You’ve probably heard that it takes more gas to restart a car than to let it run. Maybe that used to be true, but it isn’t anymore. With modern fuel-injection engines, it takes very little extra gas to restart a car once it’s warmed up. Idling, meanwhile, burns about a half-mile worth of gas every minute, according to the California Energy Commission. Bonus tip: Don’t idle your engine to let it warm up before driving. It does your engine no good and it wastes gas. Instead, start driving right away, but drive gently until the engine is warm.
- Short hops: For really short trips, take advantage of the opportunity to get some exercise. Try walking to the store instead of driving. You can save gas and burn a few calories instead. If you can’t hoof it, save up your errands. A lot of short hops that let the engine cool down at home between trips can use twice as much gas as starting the car once and making a big sweep to all your stops, according to the U.S. Department of Energy.
So there you go, six quick tips to help you save some of that expensive and oh so precious gas. Oh, and remember. Make sure to keep an eye on that fuel gauge. If it says you’re below empty, you’re probably getting close. Don’t learn the hard way like I did.