How could I possibly not talk about gas prices? I mean really, other than the weather is there anything else we like to complain about these days? And, boy do we have something to complain about. As gas prices rise to record heights, we as consumers are left to ponder about what our options really are. We can’t simply drive down the street to a different gas store and find a cheaper price…no gas on CraigsList. I truly feel for those who work in industries that rely on car transportation; taxi, flower delivery, pizza delivery and limo drivers. All we can do is question the why and find ways to deal with the reality.
In researching this post I discovered what I already knew…gas pricing is a mystery to me. Seriously, it’s as if this stuff is written in a different language!? Too many numbers, too many percentages, too much fluctuation, too much finger pointing, too many excuses!
What can we do? Here is a list of possible solutions that you can do for your family.
Rethink your commute
Public transit is ready and waiting for you to hop on board. Yes, it can be slow and unpredictable…but it’s inexpensive and great for the environment. When was the last time you rode the red rocket (keep your minds out of the gutter). Check out myttc.ca before you head out and you can get accurate schedule times, and plan out your trip.
Grab a new set of wheels
The sun is out, and the weather is perfect for riding your bike. I know a lot of people that put the car in the garage and ride to work in the warmer months. If you have a short commute, why not? If you don’t own a bike, no problem. Check out the newest bike craze to hit Toronto, and the world…Bixi. With 80 locations around the city, Bixi is a bike sharing program not unlike the popular auto share programs we are all familiar with. Simply find a docking location, plug in your credit card, pick up a bike, ride the bike, return the bike to any docking location, done! How amazing is that.
Keep those tires pumped…but not too pumped
Ever wondered how much air to put in your tires? Check the inside panel of the driver’s side door, most models post the air pressure requirement there. If not, check the manual. If all else fails, go online and check with your manufacturer’s website. Find the correct tire pressure and pump away at most gas stations. The correct tire pressure means that you are riding those wheels correctly. If you’re too low, you’ll go slow. If you are too high, you could loose control. Check the numbers first.
Keep you car tuned up
Regular oil changes, cleaning air filtres and properly maintaining your car leads to better gas mileage. It just make sense. When the parts are functioning properly, your car should meet it’s manufacturers stated gas mileage numbers (I said should).
Don’t carry around extra weight and have extra objects hanging off your car. Remove that bag of salt from the winter, and the roof racks or empty storage bin. We have all seen the car commercials showing the wind flowing, uninterrupted, over your vehicle…can’t happen if you have an empty bike rack stuck on top of your car.
I know this one is a tough one. When I was a kid my mom would pull up infront of the convenience store, I’d run in and buy her a pack of cigarettes, while she sat in the idling car. Times have changed. Hopefully the convenience store wouldn’t sell an 8 year old cigarettes and hopefully, the car would be turned off. Why burn gas when you are not even moving?
Plan your trip
If you have 5 things to do on a Saturday, and you have to drive the car, map it out first. Either park in a central location and walk from place to place. Or, figure out the most efficient way of travelling from point a to b to c to, etc. Planning saves time, gas and lowers frustration levels.
Consider your vehicle
It may seem extreme, but we actually traded in our premium gas guzzling car and opted for a clean driving diesel vehicle. When we were spending more, monthly, than we wanted on gas…we really don’t go all that far…we had to examine the situation. Our conclusion was to move to a clean diesel vehicle, and we are happy with our decision. Take a look at the car you are driving, is it the right size for your family? This isn’t a snap decision…but when the time comes consider gas consumption.
Do you have any tips you might like to share? How are you coping with gas prices? What is it like where you live?
P.S. Continuing on our meat free week…last night was Spesto! A big hit all around the table.