Going Un-leaded

In the past few years of blogging, I think I've only griped about gas prices like all of 5 times, and at least 3 of those are bunched up in the last few months. Small wonder--gas prices have literally jumped 5-10 cents overnight everywhere. It used to be that the suburbs would have cheaper gas, and I'd go there to fill up. However, it seems like the disparity is no more--the prices are pretty even everywhere.

On my drive to work this morning, I heard a story on NPR about the, erm, enormous lengths some people would go to squeeze the most out of their tank of gas. While I'm not about to join their ranks, that story did make me think about how I've changed my driving habits, and what I can do to get even more out of the gallon. One major change is the speed--my leadfoot tendencies are no more. Instead of blazing down the fast lane, now I'm going at the speed limit or even below it. I still gun it when I have to get somewhere in a hurry (since time is money), but for the most part, I've slowed down by at least 5-10 MPH on the majority of the trips. I doubt that I'm saving that much gas, but given that I'm paying for half a tank at the cost of a full tank from a couple of years ago, every little bit makes a huge difference.

Driving slower also has an expected but pleasant side effect--I feel like I'm on a leisurely drive when I'm taking my time. You'd think that I'd be more stressed out because it would take longer to reach my destination, but the slower drive has an oddly calming effect. Given the anxieties of the daily rush, it's nice to enjoy that little bit of unstressed time.

The "Hypermilers" story also inspired me to do something that should have been done long ago--to rid my car of those heavy bar prep books from last summer. I left them in there because they were too heavy to carry to class every day, but now they're just adding dead weight and burning more gas.

What kind of creative moves are you making to lessen the blow from the high gas prices?


Jennifer said...

I've heard that maintaining proper tire pressure can actually save you a lot of money on gas.

Also, I'm a lot more careful to consolidate trips - no more running out for milk or bread at night; I do grocery shopping on the way home from work.

Sales Rack Raider said...

Jennifer--I've heard that tire maintenance makes a difference too. The little things matter a lot.

Consolidating trips is a great idea. Besides, it's more efficient and leaves you with more time to do other things you want/need.