That handy pay at the pump option hurts more than ever of late, with gas prices in many areas topping $4.00 a gallon. While none of us can avoid paying the high cost of fuel in the current market, there are a few things you can do to help you manage those high fuel costs. Some of these are lifestyle issues, while others can be as simple as good car maintenance.
The simple solution to managing high gas prices is one that many of us find frustrating. Drive less. If you can carpool, bike or walk, do so. If you happen to live near good public transportation, run a quick time and money analysis to see if it is a wise choice for you. You may also find that you can combine errands to reduce your overall driving time and miles. If the grocery store is on the way home from work, perhaps doing your shopping then, or picking up that birthday gift on the way home from church would cut your costs. You may also find that it is more cost effective to shop closer to home, even if the stores are pricier. Meal planning and smart shopping may allow you to reduce trips out. Some employers are even allowing four day workweeks to reduce transportation costs, subsidizing public transit or allowing employees to telecommute occasionally. If relevant, consider suggesting these options to your employer.
If your car has not had a recent tune up, visit your mechanic. A tune up can significantly improve your fuel mileage. Also, be sure your tires are kept aired up and your trunk empty to encourage the best fuel efficiency possible. Drive the speed limit and make an effort to drive smoothly to reduce braking and acceleration to improve your gas economy. If you have been considering a new car purchase, buy small or consider a hybrid vehicle. Some automakers are also offering fuel cost incentives.
Some simple lifestyle changes can also make that pain at the pump easier to bear. Consider taking advantage of mail order and online shopping options. A visit to amazon.com may be more reasonable than a drive to your local bookshop. You might also find an online DVD rental service to be a good choice. If your local library offers book pickups at a closer location, take advantage of this service. Options that keep you and your car at home can help you save in these days of high gasoline costs.
Rewards programs offered by some groceries, credit cards, or gasoline chains may help you save on your fuel costs. While the savings is typically small, making use of even these few cents a gallon discounts can be helpful, assuming you are not spending more to get the discount or driving out of your way for it.