This is my online journal documenting my attempted escape from debt hell. If you think that applying the term "hell" to being in debt is too extreme, you've probably never come close to the point of no return.Please feel free to follow me on this escape mission, maybe all of us will learn a thing or two along the way.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Gas prices: 10 Ways To Save At The Pump

One thing that has put a hole in my pocket are the constantly rising gas prices. I believe we are simply being hosed by companies who know that they can charge what they want and get away with it because we are so car-addicted that we will pay even while we complain.
Rants aside, how to deal with these prices?

Here are some suggestions:

1)If you live or work near a First Nations Sovereign Territory, buy your gas there. The First Nations get their gas tax free, and sell it at a significant discount from off-reserve prices. I've seen spreads of between $0.04-$0.10/litre.

2) Buy regular gas. Don't get sucked into the marketing of higher octane (more epensive) fuels as a panacea to keep the car rnning better. Unless you're getting a knock, then your vehicle will run just as well on regular.

3) Drive calmly, accellerate naturally. Slamming your foot into the gas won't get you where you're going much more quickly. Also reduces the chances of getting a ticket, or having an accident, both of which bear their costs in terms of fines or premium increases, which are both nothing more than tossing money into the fire. And both will ultimately slow you down.

3)If you have two vehicles, and need both, use the more fuel efficient one for your city driving needs, errands and other day to day needs.

4) I know it means laying out a few shekels initially, but make sure air filters are clean, spark plugs are replaced regularly and of course oil. What you save in gas (Not to mention MAJOR repairs) will more than pay for the parts. If possible, do it yourself.

5) Don't speed. You save on gas, you save on tickets, you save on insurance.'Nuff said.

6) If you have A/C don't use it unless you must. Save it for the really hot days, and highway driving, where the drag will cost you more in fuel efficiency than the A/C.

7) If you can, walk to the store for small errands rather than drive. It'll save you on gas, and help your general health. I'm not a big fan of public transport if you have a car. When it costs $2.00 or more to ride the bus, you're further ahead financially by driving to your destination. Public transport makes sense, however, if you buy a pass and use it regularly (It only pays for itself if you're using it twice daily), or if you're going into the downtown core of a city, and will have to pay for parking. Then the $2.00 bus fare starts looking more attractive.

8) Idle the engine as little as possible. For warm up, a minute is sufficient. Note: This dos not apply in a Canadian winter when one is stuck waiting for someone to be picked up, or when one's car is covered with 2-3 cm of ice after freezing rain. Common sense rules at the end of the day.

9) If you're going to use the car wash anyway, some companies, such as Petro-Canada will give you a discount on your gas ($0.04/litre) if you buy a car wash. At times like this it's worth it.
Note: Some argue that you will save by washing your car yourself: In communities where water is not metered and billed, that makes sense, but where billing applies, it's worth going to the car wash from time to time.

10) Pay cash, if at all possible. Unless you're the kind of person credit card companies loathe, ie: one who pays off their balance in full each month, yor tank of gas will cost you an obscene amount in compounded interest on top of the price at the pump!

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