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A PAIN IN THE GAS: AVOIDING THE GAS PUMP BLUES

This article is from our archives and has not been updated and integrated with our "new" site yet... Even so, it's still awesome - so keep reading!

Published on Fri, May 27, 2005

By: The LACar Editorial Staff

A PAIN IN THE GAS: AVOIDING THE GAS PUMP BLUES

By Editors JOHN GRAFMAN, ROY NAKANO, AND HARVEY SCHWARTZ

Gas prices got you down? The petroleum companies earned a record $82 billion this past quarter. Here are a few tips to use if you want to keep a few dollars in your pocket.

Be cheap. This should be obvious, but it isn't for some. Always purchase from the lowest-priced gas stations. Why did the gas companies raise the prices? The answer is because consumers were all too willing to pay the price. Way too many "Lazy Americans" sent a clear signal to OPEC and others. Competition is a strong motivator; give the closest corner gas pumps a reason to earn your business. By-pass the most convenient station for the least expensive. While it might seem that the difference is just a few pennies, those few pennies have escalated over the past year to well over a dollar per gallon. We have no one to blame but ourselves. - JG

Get to the office earlier. Traffic seems to get exponentially denser as the minutes tick by. The earlier you can commute, the better the traffic conditions. - RN

Drive smart. Always consider where you are planning on going in order to maximize your trip. Do as many stops in the same area to avoid going up and back, up and back. - JG

Use freeway shortcuts. This will probably save ( at least ) a few pennies off of your freeway commute. - RN

Get the lead foot out. Always accelerate from a stop with moderate throttle. Never spin your wheels. It is a tremendous waste of fuel. When you are driving at speed on the freeway on a downward slop, take your foot off the throttle occasionally and coast to the posted speed limit, and then resume acceleration when you fall below the posted speed limit. - HS

Steady as she goes. Keeping the car moving at a consistent speed will help in getting better mileage. Goosing the gas only to back off it as the traffic ahead slows down does little good. - JG

Pole position. Don't race up to a stop sign or traffic signal. When you see the light change to yellow or red, take your foot off the throttle and coast to the back of traffic. Resume accelerating if the light has already turned green. When driving in a residential neighborhood, always try to drive at the posted speed limit, because you will soon have to stop for a stop sign or traffic light. - HS

Get it in gear. The best mileage is produced whenever the tallest gear possible is used. Performance suffers, but that's the trade off. If car manufacturers offer super overdrive gearing, we could squeeze out a few more miles per gallon. - JG

Check out the EPA ratings on your next car purchase. You might be surprise to see what you find. Not all the gas misers are hybrids. On real highways, some diesel-engine cars do as well if not better than some hybrids. Also, note that the four-cylinder Honda Accord does nearly as well in the real world as the (V6) Accord Hybrid on gas mileage. But the former will save you thousands on the purchase. - RN

Buddy up. Want to double your gas mileage? Split the trip with someone else. Carpooling can be fun and really stretch your dollars, especially as you add passengers. - JG

Fix it. A poorly maintained car can suck up gas unnecessarily. Tune it up, fill up them tires, clean the air filter, and maybe even take off those wind resistant roof racks! - JG

Mini or minivan? Whenever a married couple is about to have their first child, they're often inflicted with a syndrome that makes them think they need a minivan or SUV. Remember when families of four used to make do with a Volkswagen Beetle or similar small car? In Europe, they still do. - RN

Exercise won't kill you. City driving is the worst for gas mileage. When at all practical, try some other means such as a bike, skates or even walking. Not only does it reduce gas consumption, it also keeps the air cleaner, and does your body good. Due to the way traffic is anyway, you might even save time! - JG

Down the road. We need to start thinking about real ways to reduce our long-term problems now.

It takes a village. Driving long commutes to and from work everyday is insane. We need to rethink our work habits. Working close to home, even if it means changing companies will be essential not just in reducing consumption, but in saving time and reducing pollutants. - JG

Getting closer. This is becoming a harder option as housing prices in So Cal escalate. However, the time you don't have to spend fighting traffic is time added to your life. It's almost like increasing your life expectancy. - RN

I can't drive 55. Increase the speed limits. For those who can qualify, we need to have express lanes on the highway; it seems to work in the supermarkets. Faster speeds mean shorter lines and less traffic. Less traffic, along with less stop-and-go driving means higher gas mileage and of course less pollutants and time wasted. Only drivers and machines that can meet the testing, as other countries do, should be allowed. We don't need to reduce consumption at the expense of lives lost. - JG

Creating better roads. Poorly maintained road surfaces and congested roadways only add to poor gas mileage. It's time we take a more serious look at our infrastructure. Our roads and signals should be brought up to date with current technology. In some places around the southland you'd think we're in a third world country. - JG

Getting serious. Hybrids won't eliminate our need for petroleum-based fuels, they merely prolong our dependence. A non-depleting energy source is needed. Unless we are going to clone dinosaurs, a la Jurassic Park, for use as petroleum in the future, we had better move in a different direction all together. - JG

For gas pricing around Southern California go to www.gasbuddy.com

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