Since I’ve recently written about how to save gas, I thought I’d go ahead and highlight some tips from Jean Chatzky in the latest issue of Money Magazine. In the end, she figures that her tweaks will save her over $1, 300 dollars and 0.74 tons of carbon dioxide emissions per year. Not bad. So how’s she doing it?
Drive a smaller car: While it might not be realistic to replace your gas hog or add another, more fuel efficient car to your fleet, most families have more than one car. If that’s the case for you, simply choosing to drive the more fuel efficient model whenever possible can dramatically decrease the amount of gas that you burn. If your family needs to use both cars at once, try to prioritize the more efficient vehicle for longer trips. The less time your gas hog spends on the road, the less fuel you’ll use.
Log and plan your driving: By keep a driving log for a week, she was able to spot patterns in her driving, learn how to effectively combine trips, and cut out unnecessary trips. She also started calling stores before she drove to them to make sure that they had her desired item(s) in stock. This has allowed her to delete at least one “random round trip” each day. Beyond the fuel savings, it sounds like she’s saving time, too.
Use public transportation: She’s switched to taking the train to work almost exclusively. For her, it’s a financial wash, but there’s a environmental (and conservation) benefit in that she’s burning far less gas. Also check with your employer. Some offer transportation savings account that let you pay your public transport fares out of pre-tax dollars. This could turn a financial wash into a clear gain if it’s available to you.
Make your gas go further: You can dramatically improve your mileage by accelerating smoothly, obeying speed limits, and minimizing unnecessary braking. This is perfectly in line with my recent driving experiment — recall that I was able to improve my mileage by 15%.