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Four Gas Saving Tips You’ll Ignore, Five You Won’t
Posted By Jim On 10/09/2007 @ 10:02 am In Cars | 13 Comments
The one thing I don’t really like about typical gas saving tip posts is that they give you great tips that you’ll absolutely never use. There. I said it. Those are great tips that you will absolutely, without a doubt, 100%, take no prisoners, ignore until you’re blue in the face. You ignore them because you basically don’t like the tips. Let me get into the four tips you’ll ignore, tell you why I think you (and I) ignore them, then I’ll follow that up with some tips I think you won’t ignore (and that I don’t, mostly because they’re easy).
This tip is by far the one that you’ll probably ignore the most because we all like to get where we’re going as quickly as possible. In fact, despite all the studies showing that driving slowly will increase fuel efficiency, the bottom line is that when the Feds forced the 55 MPH speed limit because of the 1973 oil crisis, oil consumption dropped only 1% . You are most likely to ignore this rule because after the max speed law was repealed, most highways use 65 MPH as their limit and most highways generally operate around anywhere between 70 MPH and 80 MPH; going any slower actually puts you at risk as aggressive drivers start weaving around you.
Carpooling obviously saves on gasoline because you use less of it. Carpool exactly one work day a week and, like magic, you’ll reduce your gas consumption! It’s absolutely brilliant in its simplicity until you actually try to carpool and find out no one lives near you and has the same schedule as you. I lived with a roommate for two years, we carpooled fewer than five times; it’s not that we hate the Earth (I recycle, I try to conserve gas like everyone else) but we had different schedules and coordination was a pain. Sometimes I had to work late, sometimes he had to work late, sometimes I had to come in early, etc. At under $3/gallon for gasoline, carpooling’s PITA factor outweighs the cost savings. I still try to carpool when its convenient, trading beers for rides into Baltimore, but the day to day thing simply doesn’t work well.
I’ve heard this tip over and over again and some people even advise that you take the spare out of your trunk to save on fuel! Again, a great tip if you have cinder blocks in your trunk but generally I don’t think I have more than 10 pounds of “stuff” in my trunk (not counting the spare, which is staying in there no matter what). This tip is great in principle but fails in practice because I think most people have a reason for the stuff in their car’s trunk. Even the people with tons of junk in their trunk have a good reason for it and often won’t have it filled with stuff that’s both unnecessary and unbelievably heavy.
Great tip… except you already have a car. It’s a great tip on paper, buy a smaller car and you will use less gasoline both today and in the future. It ignores one important fact though: it’s hard to sell a car and then buy a new one. In fact, buying a car is regarded as one of the more stressful decision processes a human being can enter into (second to probably buying a house and getting married, this is of course a statistic I made up but you’ll probably agree with me) and it’s not something that happens trivially. If you could swap your gas guzzler for a svelte gas sipper I’m sure you would, but it’s not as simple as that. This is like suggesting you trade in your wife or husband to someone more attentive or more attractive. Seems good on paper until you try to do it. This is probably the most ridiculous tip.
Now that you’ve heard the four tips that I think are good but most often ignored, here are five tips that are simple and something you’ll actually do:
(Photo: chego101 )
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 oil consumption dropped only 1%: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Maximum_Speed_Law#Actual_conservation_and_economic_effects
 GasBuddy: http://www.gasbuddy.com/
 chego101: http://www.flickr.com/photos/chego101/3389452476/sizes/m/
Thank you for reading!