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Some Ideas to Reduce the High Cost of Gasoline
Sticker Shock! I don’t know about you, but I’m starting to get “sticker shock” every time I go to fill my car with gas. I’ve seen prices per gallon for regular gasoline here in the Los Angeles area as high as $2.69 9/10 lately. And it seems like only a few weeks ago, they were about $2.25 9/10. Mathematically speaking, that’s a 19.
5% increase in just a matter of weeks. What is really insidious is that a significant rise in gasoline prices has a tremendous ripple effect throughout the entire economy. It raises the cost of doing business. When those costs get high enough, they are passed on to you and me in the form of higher prices. So this isn’t just a matter of improving the environment, this is about economic survival! We Must All Take Positive Action I believe that we cause prices to decrease if we take collective action to reduce gasoline consumption.
If we can reduce our national demand for gasoline, this certainly should eventually lead to stabilizing and possibly reducing the price we pay at the pump. And that will help stabilize prices throughout the economy. One of the great side benefits of this is that reducing our consumption of gasoline will also improve the environment—especially air quality. Some Suggestions Here are some suggestions. Some are things that you can do to immediately reduce your gasoline consumption/cost. Some require the cooperation with others. The cumulative effect of all these changes can be significant if everyone saves even a little: Make certain you car pool at least once or twice per week. Every person who carpools is one less person on the road. Work out an arrangement with your employer to shift your work hours to times when traffic is better. For example, if you come to work a couple of hours in the morning and leave a couple of hours early, you may be on the road when traffic is lighter.
That should translate improved gas mileage. Work out an arrangement with your employer to work 10 hours a day 4 days per week. Employers still get the same number of work hours, but this reduces the number of days you have to come to work. The days off can vary by employee so that it doesn’t disrupt business operations. Employers need to consider allowing some employees to telecommute. With high speed internet connections and VPN accounts, this is now more technically possible than ever. As long as the employee is self-motivated, this benefits the employer as well as the employee. Many times, employees who telecommute actually work longer on days they telecommute because of the reduced commute time. Also, they often eat at home during the work day reducing lunch times. And there are fewer interruptions so they can concentrate and be more productive.
And the employee has less stress reducing sick time and increasing morale. Change one of your work days to a Saturday or Sunday. In most cases, traffic is lighter on the weekends, so you should get better gas mileage. And isn’t it great to have a day off during the week to take care of personal things that are sometimes difficult to do on the weekends. Consolidate your trips. While reducing miles per gallon is important, the real savings come when you simply don’t use the car at all. Set a personal goal to reduce your personal gasoline consumption by 10%. I recommend that you write this goal out on a card and tape it to the visor in your car so that you see it regularly. If you set a goal and review it often then you are more likely to take conscious action to achieve it. Too often, we simply get in the car and go without thinking of the consequences.
Get a log book and start recording your gasoline consumption every time you go to fill up. Write down the mileage, number of gallons, price per gallon, total cost and your average miles per gallon. Then review the total figures at the end of each month. Once you get into the habit of writing down the information, it won’t take much time. Just the act of recording this information will make you conscious of how much or how little you are using your car. That will make it easier for you to take action to reduce your consumption. The next time you get your oil changed, request synthetic oil. Yes, synthetic oil is more expensive. But, when I switched to synthetic oil a few years ago, my mileage improved by about 25%.
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