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5 Easy Ways to Screw OPEC

I don’t know about you but every time I heard oil prices falling, I grin from ear to ear. I like free markets if they are operating in a healthy economic environment (which means I’m cool with the bailout of banks, but I’m not cool with talks on bailing out GM, though I understand why) but those OPEC nations were taking it too far. I wrote about how OPEC hates us [3] and how they were decreasing supply to “cope” with sagging demand. They got used to the high prices and now that demand is falling, they want to keep the high prices. That’s just mean.

So, what can we do? Hit them where they want to hit us, in the money sack. We must use less gas.

The lesson here, which we should’ve learned in the 70’s, is that OPEC should control our destiny. Say what you want about offshore drilling or alternative fuels, that’s for the pundits and the policy makers to figure out for 2015… I’m going to continue to do what I can today – use less gas.

Five Ways to Screw OPEC

1. Regularly maintain your car. Getting regular checkups, regular tune ups, and regular oil changes will improve your fuel mileage and increase the lifespan of your car. The myth about the 3,000 oil change is a myth, you can follow whatever your car manual says for your type of usage, but you still need to get that changed. As for the 30,000 and 60,000 checkups? Do them. Tune ups? Wonderful for gas mileage as you replace things that have been worn down. Don’t be penny wise and pound foolish with your car because the day you take it for granted is the day it reminds you that you shouldn’t.

2. Check your tires regularly and rotate them. Rotating the tires maximizes their lifespan. Keeping them properly inflated maximizes your fuel efficiency and maximizes their lifespan. Those two simple things will reduce how much gasoline your car consumes and how much oil is used to produce the rubber for your tires. Use less, OPEC complains.

3. Carpool to reduce driving. I feel like a broken record (can I even use that analogy anymore?) but carpooling and efficient trip planning has to be the easiest way to save gas. My wife and I try to plan our trips such that we minimize how much driving we do and it makes for a fun mental exercise.

Did you know that if two separate people are meeting at a point between them, it’s always better for one person to pick up the other person first as long as they return to the same place? If my wife is leaving work and I’m at home, it’s better for her to pick me up if we plan to go out for dinner than for us to meet each other at the restaurant. I didn’t think it was intuitive but if you draw it out it makes very obvious sense. (if the meeting point is equidistant to both then it’s equal)

4. Learn how to hypermile. Hypermiling is changing your driving behavior so that you maximize your car’s fuel efficiency. The basics are quite simple, you want to brake as little as possible, accelerate as slowly as possible, and travel as slowly as reasonably possible. Realistic hypermiling [4] are a few suggestions I feel are both effective and realistic in our current driving environment.

5. Buy a bike. My wife and I bought bikes earlier this year and we use it to get around our area fairly easily. This may or may not be feasible for you given your neighborhood but it’s something you should consider. If not a bike, then investigate how you can best utilize mass transportation in our area. The key here is to ditch the car and try something fun and different.

Now say it with me, “Down with OPEC! Down with OPEC!” 🙂

(Photo: jfabra [5])