Monday, April 14, 2008

Making real change in gas consumption

Gas this morning hit $3.49 a gallon, a record in Indianapolis. Which means in about 48 hours I’ll get another “stick it to the gas companies by not buying from Exxon” e-mail.

These kinds of e-mails make me nuts. First, there are no Exxon stations here; second, the stations that are here do very likely buy from Big Oil; third, a one-day hold on purchases just means you’ll have to buy the next.

Want real change in your gas prices? Consider doing some or all of the following:

  • Trade in your SUV. And if you can’t, be smarter about when and where you drive.
  • Avoid drive-through banking, restaurants or other services. You’re just burning gas while you wait. Park the car and go inside. You might burn a few calories instead of gas that way.
  • Switch your schedule or route and avoid rush-hour tie-ups. A few minutes can make a difference.
  • Move or change jobs, if needed. We found that when we moved to the other side of the metro, we saved enough in gas each month to make up the difference in our mortgage. And that was when gas was only $2 a gallon (the good ol' days.)
  • Watch your speed, your air filter and your tire pressure. All affect your mileage. You can even do my dad’s trick and keep a log of mileage on the odometer and how much added to the tank. If your mpg is going down, get your car looked at.
  • Carpool or take the bus, if you have that flexibility.
  • Ditch the gym membership and the drive back and forth. Get a bike or a pair of tennis shoes instead, and enjoy your weather in the spring and summer months.
    Piggyback your errands into one trip, or at least to and from the office.
  • Got a Netflix membership? Watch something online instead of having it mailed (and save the USPS the plane fuel from shipping).
  • Buy local. We don’t need grapes from Argentina. Enjoy the seasonal variety of locally produced produce, and help the little guy in the process.
More later. I'm just getting started!

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