The summer of 2008 saw the highest prices for gasoline the United States had ever seen. The prices have settled down a bit but they are expected to rise again. This isn't exactly the fault of the consumer. If you trace the reason why gasoline prices have risen at the pumps, you can easily go back to two historic events; the attack on the World Trade Center and the United States invasion of Iraq.
It was thought that with Saddam Hussein no longer in power, the price of gasoline would plunge. The fact is that oil markets are an extremely volatile commodity, linked to the supposed volatility in supplies and the oil-producing nations.
Trying to keep a family on a budget with these wildly fluctuating gasoline prices is difficult at best. The good news is that there are ways to shield you from the rising costs of gasoline. Here are some tips to help you save money on gasoline.
Minimize the use of your car
Keeping your car for long trips is the best way to save money. When possible, travel by foot, bicycle or bus if traveling short distances. This method will not only help you save money and gas, but it will certainly be of benefit to your health. Long walk are proven to improve your cardiovascular system and will improve your overall physical and mental health.
Taking a bus or train can, in many circumstances, be cheaper than driving and paying for gas, tolls and parking fees.
Setting a good example for your children will go a long way to teach your kids to rely less on the family car. Teaching them to commute will foster independence and make them more familiar with the areas where you live. This will allow them to travel where they need to go without always having your presence when they need to go somewhere.
Regular maintenance of the car
Just as you should routinely visit the doctor, your car should also be checked every few months. The efficiency of a car drops considerably when it is not running at optimum performance.
Basic maintenance that is easily done by the driver should be to check the tire pressure, the oil level and the water/antifreeze in the cooling system. When your car struggles to accelerate, especially on flat roads, or you are having an overheating problem, chances are your car is in poor condition.
Use fuel-efficient cars
In past years, the fuel economy of a car was not the primary consideration when purchasing a car. The proliferation of gasoline hogging SUV's and monster trucks can attest to that. Now times are changing and efficiency is the name of the game. Gas hogging behemoths' are losing fashion and people who drive them are being looked down upon.
When considering the purchase of a car, fuel efficiency should be your primary concern. Many cars give outstanding fuel economy. Several companies produce hybrid vehicles, but these cars are still in the experimental stage and are more expensive that their gasoline powered competitors.
Ideally, the car that you use daily should give you outstanding mileage in terms of your miles per gallon. You can consider a hybrid, but this technology is still in the developmental stage, and the cars are considerably more costly than gas-powered vehicles. The rush is on to produce more hybrid vehicles and more and more options will be available to the consumer. ( Beverly Saltonstall)