The hurricane that has devastated so many lives has created a huge spike in gasoline prices around the country, even in areas that are not directly affected by the crisis.
With this in mind, here are some ways that you can reduce your gas consumption, and thereby spend less money at the pump. At the same time, you’ll also be helping the environment by putting fewer emissions into the air.
1. Avoid idling as much as possible. Modern engines do not need to be warmed up. In fact, they warm up better by driving them slowly, under a light load. Instead of using the drive-up window at the local fast food joint, consider going inside instead. If you do use the pick-up window, turn off the engine while you are in line. It takes less gas to restart a warmed-up engine than it does to idle for 30 seconds or more.
2. Accelerate and decelerate slowly. Don’t stomp on the gas peddle when the light turns green. Try to anticipate traffic flow and drive accordingly, keeping safety in mind at all times.
3. Lighten the load. If you have a bunch of stuff in your car that you don’t need with you, store it somewhere else. The more your car weighs, the more gas the engine must burn.
4. Combine trips. Try to run all your errands at one time. Planning ahead for what you need to buy and do can save a lot of trips and miles.
5. Check tire pressure. Improperly inflated tires create drag and reduce fuel efficiency by as much as 2%. Properly inflated are safer and they last longer.
6. Use the right gas. Check your owner’s manual for the right grade of gas for your car. It is a waste of money to use a higher grade then recommended.
7. Close the gas cap properly. Make sure the seal is tight. If you buy a replacement cap, make sure it is the right one for your make and model.
8. Change the air filter regularly. A clogged filter reduces mileage.
9. Change the spark plugs. Make sure to install new ones at the appropriate intervals to improve mileage.
10. Drive a fuel-efficient vehicle. If you have more than one vehicle, drive the one with the best mileage rating whenever possible.
I would like to close by asking everyone who reads this article to please give whatever you can to relief agencies such as The Red Cross and The Salvation Army, or one of many other worthy organizations that are working hard to bring aid and comfort to the victims of Hurricane Katrina.
Although it hurts to pay more at the pump, it can’t compare with the agony that so many in the Gulf Coast are enduring.
Copyright 2009 Danek Kaus