For motorists across the country, it feels like history is repeating itself. Average gasoline prices are once again well over $3.00 a gallon. Back in 2007, fuel prices reached these levels, and hit over $4.00 in 2008. Some predictions have prices at the pump heading to $5.00.
Commuters are likely once again contemplating changes in what, or how, they drive.
A more economical vehicle is always one option. Other choices for urban dwellers are an increased use in transit or getting involved in a carpool.
“I suspect that many people will be thinking about how often they drive,” says Joe Zietsman, director of the Texas Transportation Institute’s Center for Air Quality Studies. “‘Is this trip really necessary; can I combine this trip with another; maybe I should buy a navigation system?'”
Zietsman says that most people don’t realize how much money they can save by changing theway they drive. “TTI studies and others show that at least 10 percent of your gas bill can be eliminated just by what we call ‘eco-driving.'”
What is eco-driving?
- Feather foot instead of lead foot.
- Avoid rapid starts and stops, also known as “jack rabbit” driving. Tailgating also burns a lot of fuel.
- Drive the prevailing speed between intersections.
- Use cruise control on freeways (except hilly areas). Cruise control can save 7 percent on fuel.
- Drive the speed limit.
- Use the air conditioning sparingly. Zietsman says not using the AC is 20 percent more economical.
- Avoid idling when possible.
- Get an E-Z pass for toll roads.
Zietsman says that by becoming a more eco-friendly driver you will use less fuel, save money, reduce emissions and, as a result, become a safer driver.