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Thursday, February 3, 2011

Tips for on saving money on gas

Gas prices are one of the greatest causes for increased cost of living in addition to fossil fuels being a finite resource. Saving on gas can make daily living costs more affordable and even help one be more healthy depending on which technique(s) one uses to lower gas costs. Gas costs can be saved through transportation, heating, machinery and appliance adjustments. Several of these methods are illustrated as follows:

Vehicle gas savings

• Utilize natural mobility

Natural mobility includes walking, bicycling, jogging, skateboarding, roller-blading, skating etc. In some cities such as Ottawa, Canada, individuals regularly skate to work along the frozen canal that extends from Ottawa's downtown to the suburbs. In other cities, such as Washington D.C., cyclists can ride a bicycle from as far away as Dulles airport into Rosslyn, Virginia and across key bridge into Georgetown using a paved bicycle path. The closer one is to one's place of commute, the easier and more practical natural mobility is as a source of transportation and can save $100.00's in gas bills.

• Drive less or car pool

Driving less can be accomplished through adjusting one's lifestyle and driving habits. Although it is not always possible to drive less, it can be achieved some if not all the time. Car pooling isn't. There are many car pooling organizations both online and via places of work and community where commuters an meet, park and take turns driving to work and/or splitting gas costs. In some cities car pooling also qualifies vehicles to use HOV or high occupancy vehicle lanes for faster commute times. Car pooling can reduce an individuals driving to work costs by as much as 80% and sometimes more depending on the number of drivers, and carpoolers.

• Downsize vehicles

The bigger the vehicles, the costlier the gas is likely to be as larger engines typically require more fuel to operate. If one has older kids, is entering the empty nest stage of life or simply can get by on less vehicle space, a downsized vehicle may be the answer if one can get an equal if not profitable trade, or buy and sell agreement with one's existing vehicle. Otherwise, a loss on the trade or exchange might not outweigh the financial benefits of downsizing.

• Adjust driving patterns

Driving patterns can consist of how one uses a gas pedal, how often the brakes are used, acceleration and deceleration patterns, errand and activity chunking, and where or how one works. For example, if one telecommutes, the gas savings can be significant to justify working at home. Additionally, one may choose to do all one's errands in a particular part of town all at once so as to avoid repeat trips. Even small adjustments in driving habits can have a marginal affect of gas costs which combined with other techniques could end up adding to $100.00 or more in saved cash for a month.

• Ride a scooter or motorbike

For the adventurous and daring, or those who live in small towns and heavily developed urban centers scooters or motorbikes can not only make parking a lot easier, but can also potentially save a lot on gas. Scooters and motorbikes can achieve 50 mpg or greater on 5 gallon gas tanks not only saving on gas efficiency but also on fill up costs. The fuel requirements for motorcycles can cut gas cost by 50% or greater depending on the type of scooter or motorbike and the size of one's automobile.

• Public transportation

Public transportation is a gas saver and better for the environment because it uses less energy to transport the same amount or more people than cars and SUV's. However, when using public transportation, one should compare the cost of using buses, trains etc. with the costs of regular transportation. Since public transportation is rarely free, the gas benefits should be more than the cost of the public transportation for it to be cost effective.

• Hybrid vehicles

If one's vehicle is nearing the end of its life and maintenance and repair costs are more than the costs of loans on new or used cars, obtaining a hybrid vehicle may be practical. In other words, if one needs and requires a new vehicle, obtaining a used or new hybrid may be worthwhile in terms of gas costs.

It is important to note, the costs of hybrids are still slightly higher than traditional vehicles and if such differences in cost do not outweigh the gas savings over a period of time, the hybrid vehicle may not be cost effective. There are an increasing amount of hybrid vehicles on the market and the costs of these vehicles is trending downward as economies of scale and mass production increase.

Several additional gas saving tips are discussed in the video below:

Home and equipment gas savings

In addition to vehicles, appliances, furnaces, lawn and garden equipment can also add to gas costs. There are numerous techniques for lowering home heating, gas appliance and gas equipment costs. However, it is also important to note that some of the following methods may require equipment conversion that's costs my be in excess of gas cost savings. Unless the costs of the new equipment are tax deductible, very fuel efficient and/or a justified expense, it may be better to consider alternative and/or more affordable remedies such as lifestyle changes, cheaper insulation materials, used energy efficient appliances etc.

• Insulation

Insulation can be a cost effective way to save on home heating costs. Insulation may be affordably applied to attic space, windows and basements especially if the insulating is done DIY i.e. do it yourself style. Adding insulation to an attic can be quite simple and achieved with a few simple steps. Similarly, window insulation can be accomplished using cheap polyethylene insulating material when new thermal windows can't be installed right away.

• Thermostat settings

Thermostat settings can impact gas costs if they are left high when they are not needed. For example at night and when no one is home is typically when thermostat settings can be reduced with out making residents uncomfortable. Everyone's comfort level is different, but even small adjustments to thermostat settings can yield considerable savings on one's energy bill.

• Tankless water heaters and solar heating

Thankless water heaters not only allow more space where an older and larger gas water heater may have been, they also happen to be quite energy efficient. Tankless water heaters are significantly smaller and can range from $500-$3000 in price. Tankless water heaters can be used for parts of home water usage or the whole home and the cost varies on how much water needs to be heated. Buying a tankless water heater when an old water heater expires and/or for faucets or appliances that use the most water in a household are more practical applications.

Solar water heating can be even more cost effective, especially in hot dry climates such as Arizona that experience a great amount of clear hot days in the year. In such climates a roof top water tank may be all that is needed to provide free water heating for several months of the year. Other methods of solar heating include tax deductible solar panels that are becoming increasingly affordable as component parts for the panels decline in cost in addition to improved efficiency and size requirements for the panels.

• Other high efficiency appliances and machinery

If the cost savings on a high efficiency appliance add up to more than the additional cost of a standard replacement appliance the gas savings may be worthwhile. The less amount of time required for the costs to be redeemed, the more affordable an energy efficient appliance or piece of equipment is. When choosing this option, comparison shopping, closeout sales, tax savings, need for replacement and level of efficiency are all useful factors to consider.

Saving money on gas costs in achievable not only through changes in ones transportation and logistics but also through home utilities, appliances and equipment. There are many ways to reduce gas costs, several of which are discussed in this article. The more methods that are used in tandem with each other, the greater the gas savings may be.

Some gas savings techniques are more affordable and practical than others and thus it can be a good idea to study one's life, needs, equipment and costs carefully before resorting to some of the techniques. Nevertheless, there are also many affordable ways to reduce gas costs and help the environment at the same time.