How to save green at the gas pump: Part 1

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gas prices

Gas prices are spiking nation-wide. Image: A Siegel/Flickr/CC BY

Gas prices traditionally go up in the spring time, but it is only March and the nation’s pump numbers are at near-record highs. It sure makes it hard for a driving enthusiast to enjoy feeling the asphalt rushing underneath the tires. Still, it is clear that adjustments need to be made in favor of fuel economy. But there are ways to be smart, save fuel and still get some time behind the steering wheel.

Gas prices out of control

The average price for a gallon of gas in the U.S. on Sunday was $3.80, according to the Automobile Association of America’s Daily Fuel Gauge Report. That is $0.20 higher than it was a year ago at this time. Fuel prices have reached more than $4 a gallon in four states. They seem to be steadily rising in an attempt to meet or best the all-time high of $4.11, set in July 2008.


Probably the most effective thing a person can do to increase fuel economy is to drive a fuel-efficient vehicle. Of course, most of us can’t afford to trade in our vehicles on a whim. But for those ready to switch vehicles now, it is time to consider fuel efficiency.

Brian Castelli, executive vice president of the Alliance to Save Energy, said:

“People can cut their gasoline bills by a lot by moving to fuel-efficient vehicles. When you have $4 gasoline, you can save a lot of money by going to the gas station once every two or three weeks instead of once every week.”

[How do you know when to buy a new car?]

Consider downsizing

If you are in a position to trade in your vehicle, you might consider downsizing to a smaller, more fuel-efficient model. Sure, that would involve sacrifices in terms of reduced cargo space as well as to your overall driving experience. But sometimes compromises have to be made. The economic downturn has forced many Americans to trade down. Meanwhile, the nation’s economy and the world’s ecology have enjoyed the collateral benefits of it.

Consider hybrid or electric

Toyota’s new Prius C hybrid boasts 50 mpg, drastically reducing trips to the gas pump. Consider going with a full- electric model, such as Nissan’s Leaf. The Leaf’s 100-mile range per charge can cut a driver’s leash to the gas pump forever.

Other fuel-saving steps

Beyond driving a new car, however, there are many minor adjustments that can be made to increase fuel efficiency on a  daily basis. Learn fuel-saving tricks in part two.


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