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Diatribe: Stop Worrying About What You Pay For Gasoline And Start Worrying About How You Use It Instead.


I know many people who will drive across town or wait in long lines to save a couple of cents per gallon when they buy gas for their vehicles.  I’m just not that way.  I never let my gas tanks fall below the quarter-full mark so, when I do stop to fill up, I can usually never fit more than twenty gallons of new gasoline in the tank.  So, if the same scenario hold true for others, my analysis leads me to conclude that they are driving across town (wasting fuel unless they’re going there anyway), or waiting in a long line, to save less than a dollar.  To me, this tiny reward is simply not worth the effort.

It’s happening again.  The price of gasoline is rising and throwing everyone into a tizzy.  I’ve decided that I’m no longer going to worry about it.  I already drive a hybrid, I combine errands all the time and try not to “waste” gas.

Of course I realize that these pennies add up and that, over time, those who pinch every cent out of their gasoline budgets will eventually see a small savings.  But, I think the key to fuel efficiency isn’t in shaving a few cents off of each gallon that we purchase but in using the gasoline that we do buy in a frugal manner.  The following suggestions will, undoubtedly, increase our vehicles’ efficiency and help stretch our gasoline dollars.

  • Make sure tires are properly inflated – Proper tire inflation can improve fuel economy by up to three percent.
  • Avoid quick starts and sudden stops – Coast up to red lights and slowly pull away from green.
  • Drive the speed limit – More fuel is used at higher speeds.
  • Plan your route in advance – Combine multiple tasks/errands into one long trip instead of several short outings.  Make time to be more fuel-efficient.
  • Lighter cargo – Heavier vehicles use more fuel.  Don’t haul unnecessary items.
  • Properly maintain your vehicle – Keeping a car in proper running condition helps to achieve maximum fuel economy.
  • Earn those points! – I despise “VIP Rewards” and “Valued Customer Clubs”, but if you have a credit card that pays cash back, why not use it to purchase gasoline, collect the points, and pay it in full before interest is charged?

Certainly, car pools, bicycles, walking and public transportation will help a tank last longer, too.

Being a fuel-efficient consumer requires much more effort than finding cheap gasoline.  For most, it’s far easier to pay higher prices for gasoline than it is to use that same gasoline efficiently.  Personally, I think that’s part of the problem.  The laws of supply and demand are clearly in control.  As consumers, we cannot influence the supply but we can certainly impact demand.

I’ve stopped worrying about how much I pay for gasoline and I’ve started paying attention to how I it instead.

What can you do to be a more fuel-efficient consumer?

Copyright © 2012

From → Diatribes

  1. Great post… I noticed I was getting poor gas mileage and discovered I got better mileage when my tires were properly inflated.
    Plus I only drive when I need to be somewhere. No more leisurely cruises on Sunday afternoon.


  2. I’m lucky enough to live in a big city where I don’t need a car. Actually, having a car in Chicago is more of a burden. When I do need one, I use Zip Car. (Socialized automobiles!) I’ve always been impressed with their service.


  3. Personally, I LOVE not even having a car! *sweet*


  4. A lot of good advice in this post! Wifey and I are thinking of changing our car, and a Prius is on the top of our list for potential replacements! Of course, the list currently has only one entry, but that’s beside the point.


  5. Anonymous permalink

    I don’t think the bigger issue is about saving a few cents. I agree with you, I don’t go out of my way to save less than a dollar. The bigger issue is the overall cost and supply/demand. Hybrids or not, we are a long way from fossil fuel independency. A private citizen driving a hybrid is great, but at p present only a drop in the bucket compared to the shipping industry, etc. we can’t reduce demand until we have a large scale viable alternative. Can we effect supply? If other countries are drilling in specific areas, why don’t we? How about the proposed Canadian pipeline


  6. Anonymous permalink

    …Canadian pipeline?…or local government spending. For example, Chicago gas prices are among the highest in the country largely due to TAXES. If the local and state governments weren’t nearly bankrupt this might not be the case. So, I too do not writer so much about Pennies, it’s the dollars that worry me.


  7. Will J permalink

    I agree, plan your trips and consolidate the errands so you are doing more when the engine is warmed up and working efficiently.

    Also, take a one or two day fast from driving each week. This reinforces the discipline. It really works.


  8. Yes! These are great suggestions. I love the idea of fasting from driving. That would probably help burn calories too! 🙂


Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. Why is Gas So Expensive - I Love London Ontario / Love Local / Buy Local
  2. When Is It Worth It To Splurge On A Fuel-Efficient Car?: via HuffPost | U.S. Green Technology

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