Retail gas prices affect everybody and everything, from individuals to big businesses, most people (and businesses) suffer the consequences from rising gas prices. Everybody in your morning and evening commutes are affected by the cost of rising gas prices, and if your family is thinking of taking a road trip for your summer vacation you might think twice before you hit the open road if gas is over $4.00 a gallon.
Big businesses are deeply affected by the cost of fuel. Transportation companies such as the airlines or trucking industries are very sensitive to the cost of fuel. If the cost fuel goes up, it will reflect on the ticket prices, and the cost of services, which will likely hike up the cost of the prices of their tickets and will not only have an effect on the companyís bottom line but the consumers bottom line as well. If ticket prices are too high, people just wonít take vacations and wait until prices come down in order to take vacations.
Historical Gas Prices:
For the everyday consumer the rising cost of fuel will affect their monthly allotted gas expense, and if youíre commuting five days a week gas can be a major part of oneís budget, so saving money on gas should be a major priority if you take your budget seriously. There have been some major studies that have gone into what and what doesnít affect your carís MPG (miles per gallon) and before we get into how to save money for gas, letís get into some myths that involve gas mileage:
- Air Conditioning: Studies have shown that rolling down your windows vs. cranking up the AC shows no significant difference in your MPG.
- Tire Inflation: Studies show that keeping your tires over-inflated or under-inflated shows no significant changes on your MPG. In fact over-inflating your tires can cause more wear-and-tear to you tire and-if anything-keeping your tires under-inflated is going to effect the performance of your vehicle (you wonít be able to go as fast) but wonít have a dramatic effect on you gas mileage.
Five Great Tips for Saving Gas
- Use Technology. If youíre a proud owner of a smart phone, then youíre in luck as far saving money on gas goes. There is a great iPhone application that mashes up Google Maps and a service called GasBuddy and will locate the cheapest gas within a certain radius of your location. Now use common sense when using this application because driving 12 miles to save .01 per gallon is probably not going to be efficient or economical. GasBuddy.com is also a website you can visit and check out local prices within your area; for example you just visit the GasBuddy.com website and plug in your zip code and you can see the gas price per gallon for that specific location. Just a little heads up, we did a ton of searches for gas prices here in Southern California and there more often than not Costco had the cheapest prices by at least a couple dimes comparatively speaking.
- Slow down. Driving the speed limit is not only safer; save you money on speeding tickets, but itís going to save you money at the pump. Unless youíre going on a long road trip, driving faster is not going to cut any significant time of your drive time. So unless your own a super tight schedule driving faster just doesnít make sense. Driving 75 miles per hour vs. driving 80 mph is only going to save you five minutes on a hour trip
- Use cruise control. Hereís another misconception, many people thought cruise control actually decreases your MPG, thatís simply not true, if youíre looking to save money on gas you should use cruise control as much as possible.
- Weight. Basic math says that 30 lbs of extra weight will increase your miles per gallon one-tenth to one-hundredth of a percent. If youíre thinking thatís not a significant amount to worry about youíre wrong, especially if you have a daily commute because those miles will add up.
- Putting the brakes on the brakes. Finding cheap gas is only half the battle, conserving your gas is just as important and if youíre doing a lot of accelerating and hard braking youíre not only putting a lot of stress on your vehicle youíre also wasting a lot of money.
Some other great tips to keep a rein on your gas bill is to keep track of your mileage; if you donít keep track of your mileage youíre never going to know how much time you spend on the road. Some trips are unnecessary, for example if youíre a mile away from getting your coffee on a Saturday morning, take a walk in lieu of taking your vehicle.
Not everybody can own a hybrid vehicle, and for those of us that donít own a car that gets great gas mileage utilize these tips and hopefully you will save money in the long run. Another thing that might save you a lot of money is investing in a bicycle. Getting a bicycle to get around town is going to save you a lot of money on gas and itís also going to keep you fit, but regardless what you do being more contentious about how much gas you spend is going to help your bottom line and help the environment.
Bobby Dee is a personal finance blogger and currently works with a non-profit credit counseling that has been helping consumers set up sensible budgets and assist with their debt problems for over 20 years.