Sunday, July 20, 2008

Saving Money: Gas Prices

In the latest fight against high oil and gas prices, a proposal has come up in congress that would reenact a national speed limit of 55 mph. And while this Everyman is not old enough to remember the days of a speed limit that low, he can imagine what that will do to the length of his road trips.

Is this a good idea? The numbers are there: I've been reading all over the Net that for every 5 mph faster you go than that 60 is like adding $0.30 per gallon to the cost of gas.

But if you're like the typical Everyman, you're not too thrilled to learn that you just added an extra hour onto the trip to go visit Otherman on Lake Somewhere Better Than Here. That can mean the difference between arriving in time to get a little fishing in or missing out on the evening bite.

So, what are some ways that you can save gas without driving like your grandmother?

Pay for gas in cash - it's not all that well known, but the gas stations pay a fairly hefty fee when you pay for your gas by using a credit card. Recently, many gas stations have been offering discounts to those that are willing to pay in cash for their gasoline purchases. Because they are not paying these fees, they can pass the savings on to you! So I encourage you to ask around for discounts on gas - most can be found at non-chain owned stations. It never hurts to ask!

Get the best prices online - I know it's not always convenient, but if you have access to a computer (which you do if you're reading this!) and know you'll need gas soon, check out for the best deals on gasoline in your area. This site collects prices from volunteers that will post the price at the various gas stations - so you don't have to drive around looking for the best deal! The differences can be significant - often I'll see one station charging at least 10 cents more per gallon - and their only a mile or two apart (and both on the way to my destination)!

Avoid the stations closest to the main roadways - if you're going to veer further off the beaten path anyway, it's best not to simply buy the gas at the first station off the of the interstate. Because of their location, they can sell at a premium. The opposite holds true for the station a 1/2 mile down the road. In order to get your business, they may charge 5 cents less. Hey, if you're a typical Everyman, you know that you can get quite a delicious donut inside the store with that money you just saved!

Ditch the SUV/Truck - I know, it's hard for the Everyman to do. But really, is it worth it to drive around a tank that gets 10 mpg (if you're lucky) when you can drive just about any decent sized sedan and get close to 30 mpg? Do you realize that 400 mile round trip to see your parents costs you $160 compared to $53.33 at $4.00 per gallon? That's a LOT of money. Maybe you can compromise and get an old truck for when you need it, while driving a more fuel-efficient sedan for your main vehicle. This Everyman works in a downtown metropolitan office-building and sees more SUVs/Trucks with only one occupant than he can even count. Worth it? I'm not so sure...

What Do You Do to Save on Gas? Comment below!

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