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Sunday, April 22, 2012

25 Ways to Cut Your Gas Costs

Original Article

Well, my local gas station just tipped $4 per gallon this morning, which, according to friends in other areas, had already happened to them a couple of weeks ago.  Unfortunately I don't see this price receding any time soon.  Here's some ways to keep a grip on your gas costs:

  1. Buy an electric or hybrid car (obviously an expensive proposition but if you commute really far each day and gas prices stay high you may come out ahead. Do the math first, of course).
  2. Find the cheapest gas prices in town here.
  3. Carpool. I used to do this when I went to a lot of meetings and this saved me a ton of money on gas as well as wear and tear on my car.
  4. If you do drive for work, make sure you are getting reimbursed for your mileage (when I used to be reimbursed for my mileage, I would simply check our state rates occasionally to make sure they hadn't changed since last I checked).
  5. Live closer to work. Another high-front-end type of expense but walking to work could save you a lot of money and give you some cheap exercise as well.
  6. Group your errands together and do them in a gas-saving fashion (I tend to make a circle to hit all of the places I need to go to when I do my errands to the bank, library, post office, grocery store, etc).
  7. Do as many errands from home as possible (I do nearly all of my banking and bill paying online, for example).
  8. Have "no travel days". In other words, don't leave your house unless it is by walking or bicycling a couple of days a week in order to save money.
  9. See if you can work four ten hour days instead of five eight-hour days. This will save you the cost of commuting one day a week.
  10. See if you can work from home (even better!).
  11. Commute by motorcycle or moped instead of car. 
  12. Buy gas and store it. You could realistically buy a few tank fulls of gas at today's prices and store it for future use. We used to do this with gas for farm equipment years ago. BUT you need to be able to store it safely and use it before it gets too old.
  13. You can always play the market and bet on oil futures. Obviously not a good idea if you don't know what you are doing but some people who "bet" on oil prices a while back are now raking in the money.
  14. Try bicycling or walking instead of driving. I have some healthy friends who can bike 20-50 miles a day to and from work without a problem (I am guessing they are super healthy from all of that exercise).
  15. Take the bus instead. This is what I did when gas prices hit $4+ a few years back. I left my car at home, bought a monthly bus pass, and found I preferred traveling by city bus rather than driving myself.
  16. Check your insurance rates. If you will be ditching your car most of the time to save money on gas, see if you can get a discount on your car insurance.
  17. See if your employer has van pool options. My sister in law does this. She lives far from where she works in Atlanta and her employer actually offers free van pools to take her to and from work. The only thing her van pool mates need to do is alternate who drives the van.
  18. Drive better. This article gives some great tips on how to not drive like a maniac (speeding, fast braking, etc) and save money on gas.
  19. Buy cheaper gas. Actually our vehicle has never had the experience of premium gas so it doesn't know what it is missing. The cheapest gas works just fine in our car.
  20. Look at other travel options. When we are going to travel somewhere we look at ALL of the options (the cost of driving, taking the bus, taking Amtrak, flying, even going by way of cruise ship).
  21. Don't make wasteful driving trips when other options will work. I am always shocked at the number of parents who drive their kids to and from school when walking or the bus would work just as well. Ditto for my sister's late night McDonalds runs.
  22. Don't take more car than you need. If you have two or three cars on hand, take the cheapest one that will work for your purposes (obviously hauling the soccer team will mean you will have to take the Escalade, but running to the store for groceries can probably be done in the tiniest car you own).
  23. Make fewer trips. If you are going grocery shopping, try going only once a month to make the grand haul on groceries like this.
  24. Can you ditch your car altogether? Having no car at all would be very difficult for us but here's a website of people who have gone car free.
  25. Can you become a one car family? At the most I think we had six cars in our driveway at one time. Fortunately we were eventually able to shift down to one car shared between the spouse and I which works out very well (and saves us the cost of gas plus insuring, cleaning, and maintaining multiple cars).

Here's some more great ways to save money on gas.

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