Drivetime: 7 Ways to Cope with Gas Prices
Chances are that you're glued to your car--there's no way for you to get to work or get around town without it. Some people effectively use the bus or subway, but most people need a car, which means automobile expenses are a big part of most people's budget.
So how can you save on driving costs? It's been estimated that people spend an average of around $8,000 a year
for 15,000 miles of driving. If you've got a guzzler, your gasoline consumption will drive that figure even higher. The thing is, this is in your control. Short of riding a bike to work, there are ways to save on your car year to year.
1. Don't drive a gas guzzler.
Simple--if you've got an SUV, sell it.
There's no telling how much gas prices will go up, but even if gas
prices drop, you can end up spending twice as much on gas in a
SUV or other guzzler.
2. Buy used.
However, there can be problems with this as well.
An older used car may not have as up-to-date safety features, which can
lower your premiums for car insurance. An argument can be made that an
SUV has a better
, thereby lowering your premiums. However, the amount
you'll pay on gas will likely outweigh the amount you pay for
3. Shop around for car insurance.
Checked your rates lately? You could
find a better deal, especially if you just purchased a new car--but
there may be better rates out there even if you're still driving the
same car. It's also possible to consolidate your car insurance with another type of insurance. So if you recently bought a home, you could get a package deal for auto and home insurance that lowers your rates. A homeowner is considered less of a risk in general, which is one of the advantages of home ownership.
4. Clean out your trunk and keep air in the tires.
The reason for both
is to reduce the amount of money you shell out at the gas pump: A heavier car will reduce fuel efficiency and mismatched or under inflated tires will also increase gas consumption.
5. Be a gas bargain shopper.
If you're running low on gas, don't go to the first place you see. Gas prices can vary widely. Wealthier neighborhoods will have more expensive gas, so be watchful of prices station by station.
6. Use a gas rebate card.
Be careful with this--the best way to use the rebate card is to only use it for gas and pay it off in full at the end of every month. You'll earn money back and at certain gas stations you'll even pay a cheaper amount for using the card.
7. Carpool/ride a bus/ride a bike/walk.
These things are ideal ways to reduce car and fuel costs, but obviously aren't always feasible. But when you have the opportunity, do it.
How about you--any other tips out there for saving on the commute?