Gas has been getting really expensive over the past couple of years. Economist Richard Hastings predicted it would reach $6 this summer. Thankfully, this dismal prophecy never came to fruition, but it illustrates the concern Americans have over the price of gas.
It’s almost scary to think how expensive gas can be over the next year. Today’s price of $3.55 a gallon is bad enough. If prices go up further, Americans are going to need to be a lot more aggressive about cutting their fuel consumption. Experts have offered many tips to help people cut their gas bill . However, a lot of the most popular pieces of advice don’t help consumers very much. Some advice may even cost them more.
Here are a few pieces of advice you want to be wary of:
- Clean air filters help. Changing your air filters will help you keep your car in good condition. Before the advance of computers, changing your filter would also help your car run more efficiently. Today, computers adjust gas-air mixtures when air has a hard time getting through. Changing your air filter won’t make your car more gas efficient.
- Turn off the AC. Experts won’t deny that air conditioners consume more gas. However, air conditioners are much more efficient these days. Turning off your air conditioner can make the difference between getting 33 miles to the gallon instead of 32. You may feel enduring the heat is worth the extra efficiency. However, don’t expect it will save you a lot more at the pump.
- Pour additives into your tank. A number of companies produce additives that will supposedly make your car run more efficiently. They have been tested, but don’t seem to work as well as these companies claim. Many consumers still insist on using them anyways. Smart consumers won’t waste their money on something that hasn’t been proven to work.
- Idle your engine. Many people insist on idling their engine when they aren’t driving. Thirty years ago, that was probably the smart thing to do. Engines are much more efficient today, so idling your engine more than a few seconds will actually consume more gas.
- Fuel efficient cars make all the difference. I am certainly not opposed to buying more fuel efficient vehicles. They can save you a lot of gas in the long-term. Unfortunately, it can take years before the gas savings pay for the cost of the vehicle. One study by Edmunds.com found that some hybrids can pay for themselves in 2 years. Most would take at least 6. Buying a fuel efficient car makes a difference, but doing so isn’t the best solution. You can save much more on gas by practicing good driving habits.
There are plenty of ways to save money on gas. Cutting your speed can save you 7% on gas. Likewise, using your brakes responsibly can cut your bill by 35%. Keeping your car tuned up is important as well. Spend your time on solutions that will actually work.
Kalen Smith is a finance, engineering and green blogger. He is also the founder of Onlinerookies.com where he provides Internet marketing and blogging strategies for businesses and organizations with both for-profit and social missions.