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Monday, May 16, 2011

Stingy Tip no. 4


Especially when gas prices are on the rise, gas can take a large chunk out of your budget. Minimizing that cost can be difficult but it is one of the best ways to save money.

If you live in a city or on campus where you can either walk or ride a bike from point A to point B- do so. Not only will it save you on gas, it will be great exercise. There are drawbacks of course, it will (usually) take longer than driving and you will be exposed to the weather. So walk when you can and drive when you can't.

Another option is driving a scooter for short distances. They are available in gas or electric forms and can be very cheap. This is good if you don't have a vehicle or if you cannot walk long distances due to health problems and don't want to drive your vehicle. I recommend the electric ones as they are cheaper to buy and can be charged on campus if they get low on power. They will typically go about 10 miles on one charge.

If you live in a rural area like I do, waling isn't really an option. In this case, try improve your gas mileage and carpool when possible. The best way to improve your vehicle's MPG is to keep up to date on maintenance.
It does have an up-front cost but it will be worth it in gas and sooner or later you have to do it anyway. The preventative measures can also save you from the higher cost of breaking down.
The main things to watch:

  • Tire pressure- under (and over) inflated tires can change how your tread grips the road, making your engine work harder to move your vehicle.
  • Tread- check your tread fairly often, if the tread is shallow or has no definition it will be prone to drifting as there is less traction. This can cost in gas mileage and even cause a wreck!
  • Oil/fluids- if your car didn't need them it wouldn't have them. Check levels at least once a week for older vehicles. If you subscribe to Onstar they can sometimes check for you.
If you drive a truck, replace the tailgate with a net if you can. It makes a big difference. Just don't drive with the tailgate down, that doesn't work sadly. Not using the heat/AC can also raise the gas mileage as gas is used  in these systems.

If you ride the bus, find out if there are any discounts for you such as a student discount.

If you fly a helicopter to school... why are you reading this blog?

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