More Ideas to Save Gas

Thinking about saving fuel is hardly my favorite activity, but these days, when gas stations are brazenly posting prices over $5 a gallon, it’s hard not to get outraged. Really, the price per barrel goes down a few bucks and here we have even higher prices..

Recently, I received a rather zippy email newsletter from a local SoCal organization called MyRide, offering some information on how to save gas, along with a bevy of articles about car buying, new or used, classic cars, hybrids.

The first set of instructions proffered was the shocker: How to prevent your car from getting its fuel siphoned! It seems that’s the newest twist on the gas price run-up. We now have gas thieves galore. I suppose RVs and giant trucks are special targets. Myride recommends some kind of special gas cap, warning that some thieves are so determined they will actually drill into gas tanks if the cap is burglar-proof. One spark and pouf! Adios, ladron…We’ve all heard the dumb thief stories–you know the burglar who put his ski mask on AFTER he robbed the bank or the one who was smart enough to put on the mask before the robbery, while pointing the gun at HIMSELF…But, drilling into a gas tank…that’s a real moron.

So, avoid siphoning by keeping your car in the garage or secured parking and check that your auto insurance covers loss or damage resulting from attempts to siphon your gas.

More tips include using the right octane. Only 5% of cars need more than 87, yet 40% of the gas sold in the US is high octane. Inflate your tires properly. The correct PSI is located on the driver’s door. For some reason, I hate doing this. Maybe what I most dislike is  running around trying to find a free air machine that isn’t broken.

Maintain your car. Check spark plugs, get the oil changed regularly. Do the tuneup when it’s time. In the long run, it saves money. Slow down! I mentioned that one in an earlier post about gas. I’ve actually been fairly successful lately in lightening up on the lead foot. I hate wasting time in the car and always want to drive faster; it’s not easy slowing down, but it is far more relaxing. Plus, I take surface streets more, which is not only more relaxing but also more interesting.  I get to nose around more even if only from the car.

Then, there’s cruise control. Use it if you have it on your car. I know that’s good advice, but…Myself, I am scared of it because the cruise control on a Honda Accord I had a few years ago failed–it wouldn’t go back to normal or slow down until nearly too late–and I almost had what would’ve been a serious accident.

Also, lighten the load by decluttering your trunk. I mentioned that one also. MyRide also seems to think having the A/C on is a bad idea, unlike the advice in my previous post from the Sierra Club, but, then they also want the windows closed to eliminate drag. In an L.A. summer, wouldn’t that also eliminate breathing? Put your control to “outside air”. Well, I can’t agree with that. For me, I use the air all the time, especially on the freeway because leaving the windows open seems like asking for trouble. Not only are those fine particulates heading right for your lungs, but the noise is deafening and people are throwing all kinds of crazy stuff out their windows–ever stop anywhere by the side of the freeway? amazing–and that stuff could wind up in your car or in your 80 miles an hour–I mean 60 miles an hour.

Then, put up your tailgate for you truck drivers. That’s not me. Are there really lots of drivers who leave their tailgates down?

Also, here’s another one that seems controversial: turn off your engine rather than idle for any time above one minute. How do you know when it’s going to be more than one minute? Some red lights seem to last more than one minute..What if we all had turned off our engines when the light goes green? You might save a drop of gas, then wind up in a fist fight. No kidding. I’ve actually seen drivers jump out of their cars, pummel each other and then jump back into their cars in time to make the green light.

Check out this snazzy website for yourself.

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