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Saving Gas
Photo: Jonathan Cooke
My dad spoke in grave and authoritative tones as we pulled up to the gas pumps; “The price of gas is ridiculous! If the price goes up past 50 cents a gallon, I’m going to have to find another way to get around.”

I chuckle whenever I remember that speech because gas prices have certainly gone past the “ceiling price” that he set for himself way back when. Looking back, I can only marvel at the huge “boat” of a car that our family rode around in. With the small wage and large family that my father had, it must have made just as much of an impact on his wallet then, as the gas prices have on my wallet today. 

I have strived to discover ways to save a little of my hard earned cash at the pump, and I’ve found five specific ones that I’d like to share. These methods won’t make the price of gas at the pumps fluctuate, but they can certainly help us get more mileage out of what we put in our tanks.

1. Don’t drive. I can almost hear someone saying in cynical tones, “That’s your answer to saving gas?” Before you think I’ve taken leave of my senses, please hear me out. Walking is a legitimate option to stepping on the accelerator if your destination is close by. The exercise and oxygen you’ll receive in the process is a side benefit to health.  If you have the time to jog, you have the time to walk to your destination. 

2. Combine trips. Plan a map of all the essential driving that you will need to do, and accomplish it all in one trip. I can’t count the number of times that I’ve forgotten something and drove another 15 miles round trip to go pick it up. Pre-planning, mapping, and combining trips to the grocery store, doctor’s appointments, and post office visits can save you precious time and money.

3. Check your tire pressure regularly. Invest in an accurate tire pressure gauge (not the cheap pencil kind), and make sure that you follow the recommended tire pressure indicated on the wall of the tire. Check the tires and keep them each at their recommended pressures. 

4. Fill the tank full. Putting in $5 today and $10 tomorrow increases the need to stop, start, and wait at the gas pumps. All of this takes up precious time and money in wasted fuel. 

5. Check the Internet for fuel prices. Web sites like www.gasbuddy.com are specifically built to show you where the most inexpensive fuel prices are in your city. Simply pump your zip code into the site’s search engine and check local prices all over town. Keep in mind that the price isn’t cheap if you have to drive clear across the city to fill your tank. It can however save you real money if you are already headed in that direction.

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By Michael Temple. Copyright © 2012 by GraceNotes. All rights reserved. Use of this material is subject to usage guidelines.

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