Wednesday, May 07, 2008

The Pitfalls of Fuel Conservation

But first, the good news. After last filling up the tank of my Buick Century on April 18, I was able to hold out for almost three weeks before making another trip to the pump this morning. If I wasn't taking my kids to swimming lessons all the way out in East Meadow, I could have easily made it to this weekend.

And now for the bad news. When I last filled up my car with gasoline, the price at the local Amoco station was 3.60 per gallon (incidentally, I dispense with the 9/10ths of a cent crap and just round it off to the nearest penny!). Today it had risen to 3.92 per gallon. If I had filled up the tank this past weekend, when the price was 3.86 per gallon, I could have saved six cents per gallon. In other words, with gasoline prices continuing their steady march upwards, the longer I hold out going to the gas station, the more I end up paying.

In response to this dilemma, I have decided to try a new tactic. I will try to limit myself to using a quarter tank per week, and every week buy $10 worth of gasoline. That way, I will still be keeping my fuel costs low, but I won't be leaving myself vulnerable to sharp price increases. And of course, if gasoline prices should dip once in a while, I will be able to get a little more bang for the buck. I see it as working somewhat like the dollar cost averaging strategy that some stock investors employ.

I have also devised some other tactics to reduce fuel consumption. Idling at stop lights waiting for the light to turn green means that a vehicle is burning fuel while not going anywhere. I have discovered alternate routes to avoid some red lights at intersections. If I drive to stores and shopping malls, I park further away rather than closer. My house is close to an intersection, and I try to time when I start the car after the light has been red about thirty seconds to reduce idling time when I have to go that way. While these tactics will only save me a few drops of gasoline here and there, I figure every little bit helps.

10 comments:

bullet said...

How is $10 going to get you a quarter tank? Do you have magic gas? Can I have some?

Just playing. Pretty awful truth, though. Ugh.

Tommy said...

Hi Bullet!

Well, it costs me $40 to fill my tank, so rather than plop down $40 at once, I'll just spend $10 per week.

Stardust said...

Wow, tommy,
Our Impala is rated at about 28 mpg on the highway, but hubby gets about 33 mpg on the highway. He has been doing little "games" to try to stretch the fuel out since it costs about $80 for a fill-up. He coasts to stoplights and stopsigns which drives hot rodders behind him crazy. They want to speed up to the light and slam on the breaks, then peel out to hurry up and be the first one to go. But not him. He accelerates slowly. He does the idle thing when stopped. It does make a difference. Our son is borrowing the car for awhile till his car gets fixed, and he has the gas mileage down to 15 mpg. It's all in how you drive. Everyone is in such a stinkin hurry.

Stardust said...

brakes, not breaks...sorry. It's late and I am on pain meds for gout so my writing is a bit sloppy. :S

Tommy said...

That's okay, I'm not a stickler for such things!

I wonder if Lauren is praying for you to feel better! ;-)

Poodles said...

We have a Jeep that has that little computer thing that tells you how many mpg you are getting at any particular moment. My husband has been obsessing over that little number lately. I am glad he recently went back to his old job, it is less than half the distance of his old job.

Mercurious said...

It's the bus for me for the routine commute. And it irritates the hell out of me these days when I see businesses with drive-through windows. How much gas do you suppose gets wasted in drive-through lines, when it's just as easy to go in and pick up your burger.

Tommy said...

And it irritates the hell out of me these days when I see businesses with drive-through windows. How much gas do you suppose gets wasted in drive-through lines, when it's just as easy to go in and pick up your burger.

I hear ya buddy. I was thinking the same thing the other day when I saw a half dozen or so cars lined up at the local drive through mart.

The only time I will go to a drive through is Walgreens to pick up a prescription, and that is if no one is in front of me. Otherwise, I will park and go in.

Stardust said...

I wonder if Lauren is praying for you to feel better! ;-)

If she is she better STOP! Look what happened to me last August when people were praying for me! Yikes!

chalacuna said...

uwether we like it or not, fuel prices will keep on rising. so many factors pointed out which contributes to the crises. the main reason is simply the law of supply and demand.

the major oil players like OPEC are very smart that they are able to control the supply to make an artificial demand.

the best we can do is to conserve fuel by using less or none at all. stay away from those luxury cars..


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