Slow down, you’re giving me Gas!

By Joe | July 16, 2008

Giving me the gas!I live in New Jersey. When I first moved out here about 3+ years ago, one of the perks was how low the price of gasoline was here compared to New York where I came from. People who came to visit where always glad to fill up on the way out or back, because of the cheap gas we had in New Jersey.

That was 3 years ago.

Today, gas prices have gotten so high that you’ve practically got to get a home equity loan on your house to be able to drive to work every day, and believe me, in Central Jersey, you have to drive. It’s not like when I lived in New York where there was a Bodega on every street corner. No, to get a gallon of milk here requires at a minimum 5 – 10 minutes of driving. If you factor in the cost of gasoline in with the price of the milk, buying a cow starts looking more and more attractive.

So what do we do about the high price of gas?

Stop worrying about it. It is what it is. I need to get to work every day. If I don’t then I can’t pay my mortgage, I can’t buy food and I certainly can’t buy gas to go buy food or go to work. If I worry about everytime I spend $50 bucks to fill (or partially fill) my tank, I’ll go nuts! Besides, worrying about the price of gas has made absolutely no difference at all to the people of Opec or our Government representatives. Why should I waste my time worrying then?

On the other hand, I have started some gasoline conservation efforts. I’ve tried not to use the air conditioner unless it’s really unbearable outside. So far this year it’s been a pretty cool summer so that’s been working out rather well. I’ve slowed down. I was a notorious lead-foot priot to the current gasoline crunch. And I try to coast more and hit the gas less frequently and with far less vigor.

I saw a story the other day on CNN about some people who call themselves “Hypermilers”. They use some rather unorthodox techniques to stretch their gas dollars farther than I ever though possible. Some of their ideas seem rather dangerous to me, like turning off your car while it’s coasting, but they do have some general tips we can all implement that will help us get better mileage. Here are a few.

  1. Don’t use the air conditioner – it can increase your gas consumption by 5 – 25%!
  2. Inflate your tires to their maximum pressure.
  3. Don’t speed up excessively and apply your brakes gently, it keeps the momentum going.
  4. Slow down – people who regulary exceed the posted speed limits waste much more fuel
  5. use your cruise control – it’s far better at maintaining the speed than your foot is
  6. Turn off your engine when your idling. Re-starting the car requires less fuel than idling.
  7. Minimize the weight – OK, no fat jokes, but if you don’t need to be lugging around those anchors, don’t!
  8. Get a tune up. A well maintained vehicle is far more fuel efficient.

So my motto is Peace and Serenity through Prosperity. I hope these fuel efficiency tips help you with your prosperity. Let me know if you hear of any great ideas along these lines, I’m sure we’d all appreciate it.

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