Saturday, March 12, 2011

Day 149 - Gas is $3.91 and Climbing - Ways to Save

March 12, 2011

Day 149 - Gas is $3.91 and Climbing - Ways to Save

Michelle Meiklejohn / FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Gas prices are climbing faster than Charlie Sheen's Twitter fanbase.  What's a girl to do?  I am very fortunate to have the option to work at home - and have been doing so almost exclusively since I saw the price board at the 76 station near our house changing twice a day.  Otherwise, I would be using at least a gallon of gas a day getting to the office and back.  And although my boyfriend has a gas guzzling Jeep Wrangler, his commute to work is literally six miles round trip - lucky again since he refuses to be seen driving my "dorky" (his words) Subaru Forester.  For those of you in less fortunate situations, here are some tips if you need help cutting back on the petrol.


1. Use the Internet: There are websites set up that track the cheapest and most expensive gas prices in major cities.  Gasbuddy.com (which also has a free iphone app) and gasprices.mapquest.com - to name a few - can help you find the closest and cheapest gas in your area.  Some of these sites rely on website users posting the prices so pay it forward if you find a hidden gem.

2. Avoid areas near airports and freeways: There is a station ten minutes away from our home where the gas prices are always at least fifty cents more than most other stations.  This is because it's also the last station before you hit the airport.  Another station in Pacific Beach similarly gouges people who are unaware just because it is located on a main road that heads to the beach.  Be aware - drive a block or two further and you could realize significant savings.

3. Plan your outings: This weekend you will probably have some errands to run as well as squeezing in some social activities.  Before heading out, plan a route for yourself and try to limit the number of trips out and back.  Hit the grocery store, pharmacy and library all at once.  Finish an errand on your way to dinner Saturday night.  Go shopping for the week so you won't have to go to the store multiple times over the next 7 days.

4. Stay local: Set a personal goal to park your car for the entire weekend. Use your bike or walk the neighborhood when trying to figure out your weekend destinations.  We did this one weekend and figured out we had more options for food and entertainment than we originally thought.  Give it a shot.

5. Don't drive like a maniac: Yes, I'm talking to you San Diego!!  Pushing the accelerator all the way down to the floor only to slam your brakes as you approach the car in front of you is just plain ridiculous.  I'm not sure where Californians learned this method but it drives me absolutely crazy, not to mention the danger factor.  By putting the pedal to the metal, you are sabotaging any chance of getting decent gas mileage.  A car consumes most of its gas while accelerating.  If you constantly accelerate, brake, accelerate, brake, you are using too much gas.  How about easing off the accelerator pedal and coasting when the traffic gets heavy?  You can control your speed - and gas consumption - pretty well using this method, and less brakes means less need to push that accelerator pedal back to the floor (and less money spent on replacing those brake pads and rotors!!).

What other money saving ideas do you have when it comes to rising gas prices?  Leave a comment below.

Stay tuned,
Sarah 
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