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The Daily American - West Frankfort, IL
  • Shoestring Living: Beat the gas pump blues

  • Have you seen the prices at the pump lately? What am I thinking - of course you have! This new and continually climbing price we’re paying for gasoline is beyond imagination. I still clearly remember filling up for less than $20, and that wasn’t so long ago. Current prices have me seriously considering where I go and how often, to save myself any unnecessary trips for more liquid gold.

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  • Have you seen the prices at the pump lately? What am I thinking - of course you have! This new and continually climbing price we’re paying for gasoline is beyond imagination. I still clearly remember filling up for less than $20, and that wasn’t so long ago. Current prices have me seriously considering where I go and how often, to save myself any unnecessary trips for more liquid gold.
    But the fact is responsibilities call and we have to drive, no matter how much gas costs. With that in mind, we do have a little control when it comes to fuel spending. Here are some suggestions for saving at the pump and making your full tank stretch as far as possible.
    Before you drive
    Planning ahead can equal big savings behind the wheel, especially when prices are as high as we’re seeing right now. Save errands up for one trip and plan a route that requires the least amount of driving. Shorter trips are harder on your vehicle and more fuel-costly than one long trip. Finally, whenever you can, plan to walk, use public transportation or carpool to keep your gasoline expenses at a minimum. 
    Tires
    Managing the air pressure in your tires is a great way to keep fuel costs down. Studies show gas mileage is decreased .3 percent for every 1 pound per square inch that your tires are under-inflated. Check your manufacturer’s recommended psi by finding it inside the driver’s door, the glove box door or in your user manual, and use that instead of the maximum pressure that’s listed on the tire itself. Test air pressure once a month, more in cold weather, when pressure decreases with temperature drops.
    Behind the wheel
    Some driving habits contribute to excess fuel usage, according to the Federal Trade Commission. Their experts advise staying within posted speed limits, as fuel economy decreases sharply at speeds above 60 mph. Turn off the engine if you anticipate a long wait. Leaving it running will waste gas and pollute the environment. Lastly, avoid quick starts and stops. Folks at the FTC say that drivers can improve in-town gas mileage by about 5 percent just by driving “gently.”
    Molly Logan Anderson is a freelance writer who lives in the western suburbs of Chicago with her husband, Mike, three kids and two labs. Join Molly on her family’s journey of living a frugal life and making financial freedom their reality in her columns or visit her website at www.mollylogananderson.com or on her blog at www.butterfliesandmudpies.blogspot.com.
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