I haven't always been concerned about rising gas prices.
I was about to explain all our budgeting highs and lows, but I'll spare you the details. Basically, I've recently decided I really need to watch my gas output, because there's no reason not to try and save money on gas.
So, here are my tips on saving gas. And, before you think they won't make very much of a difference, I went from getting 350 miles out of a tank to getting 450. Does that get your attention? :)
Edited to say: I'm not actually getting 100 extra miles out of every tank of gas. I just happened to come out of a tank that only gave me 350 miles, and then got a tank that got me 450. But the averages are a lot closer to the middle. Still, you should do all this stuff! You save money; just not as much as I thought.
1) Turn your car off at the drive-through! I can't stand to hear people's cars running while they wait ten minutes for their food, or at the pharmacy drive-through. I used to be one of them, thinking that if I turned the car off and then back on, I'd use more gas than just keeping it running. Wrong! That used to be true, back in the days of carburetors, but with fuel injection, it's not true anymore. When I'm waiting for the train, I turn my car off, too. And I can't stand to hear someone's car running when they pull into someone's driveway to drop something off at their house, and they end up talking for 10 minutes. Turn your car off!! :)
2) Watch the tachometer! You know, that little thing that shows rpm's. If you don't have one, pay attention to the sound of the engine. Accelerate gently, shifting up whenever the engine starts revving up very much. If you do have a tachometer, keep the rpm's below 2000. I try to keep it around 1500 when I can, but no higher than 2000. Sometimes, you have to accelerate faster than that to get out into traffic, or going up the on-ramp of the freeway, but whenever possible, keep it down. If you accelerate gently, the car will shift up a lot sooner. Sometimes, I even let off the gas around 25, 35, and 45 mph, just enough to get it to shift up, before speeding up more.
3) Drive slower! Seriously, it makes a big difference! Going down from 75 to 65 saves a lot of money at the pump. My husband's boss did an experiment with one of those fancy cars that actually shows how many miles to the gallon you're getting on a display on the dashboard. Going 55, he got something like 25 miles to the gallon, and going 45, he got 40. The faster you drive, the more wind resistance you get, and the more gas it takes to get that big hunk of iron moving down the road.
(I edited this post to correct my mistake - I was calling it down shifting, when really the car is shifting up to the next gear. Speaking of down shifting, though, I was thinking about the issue of cruise control. That's another way to save mileage. But use it wisely. If your car is revving way up on the rpm's to keep the car at the same speed, turn it off and go on manual mode for a while until the road is more even. It's not just going uphill that makes the rpm's go up, either. Going down a hill, the car will shift down to slow the car down. It's better to turn cruise control off and use your brakes to slow down. You'll save a lot of gas that way.)
I used to get frustrated with people who took forever to accelerate, and now I'm bugging the rest of the world. I don't care, if it gets me 30% more bang for my buck at the gas pump!
So, that's my thought for the day. Drive slower, turn your car off when you're waiting, accelerate gently. You'll save a LOT of money.
(One last thought. We know people who are converting to natural gas, and in Utah, you can get it for $.65 per gallon. We're thinking about it, but it costs quite a bit to convert the car and we haven't taken the plunge yet. Something to look into if you're serious about saving money. Also, if you have a long commute, you could get your money back on the conversion in a matter of months)