Friday, September 23, 2011
Easy Ways to Reduce Fuel Costs
$4.00 per gallon for regular and $4.50 per gallon for diesel. With gas prices on the rise throughout the US, increasing fuel costs present a massive concern for anybody who has to get behind the wheel, but for business owners, who may have dozens or even hundreds of vehicles in their fleet, high fuel costs are a particularly serious issue. And while consumers may have the ability to carpool, reduce vehicle weight, or even drive more fuel efficient cars, business owners do not always share the same driving luxuries. Products have to ship, routes have to be driven, and jobs have to be driven to. We pride ourselves in helping business gain efficiencies (and even on being money-makers for folks), but many of the best ways of cutting costs with gas prices are like diet and exercise: really hard to do, yet not the least bit complex. So regardless of whether or not gas prices go down this summer – and economists seem to be divided on what they think is going to happen on that front – we thought this would be an appropriate time to share some well known, but often overlooked, ways to increase your fuel fitness and help you prune at the pump this summer. 1. Fill Up the Air in Your Tires: You’ve heard this one before, but keeping your tires full helps reduce friction. So think of full tires as the bicep curls of fuel fitness… and pump ‘em up! As with weight lifting, you don’t want to over inflate, but the exact number of pounds per square inch (or PSI) guidelines you’ll want to follow can often be found on the inside of your vehicle door. And odds are that you, like us, could be more diligent about filling up your tires regularly. 2. Find the Cheapest Gas Near Your Home or Work: If you’re doing long distance drives you have less control over where you stop for gas, but for your day-to-day drives, there are a number of services, of which Gas Buddy is probably the best known, that can help you find the cheapest current local gas prices from your computer or mobile device. So try plotting your route to work and seeing if you can shave a few cents per gallon by mixing up where you stop for gas on your way into the office. 3. Change Your Air Filters: In addition to increasing your vehicle’s power, increasing the air filter regularly is a great way to increase power, prolong engine life and also improve fuel economy. So be sure to contact someone who really knows your vehicle and be good about rotating your air filter regularly. Also, note that your mechanic may or may not be biased toward having you replace the air filter more frequently than you need to, so sometimes it’s best to get several opinions on how often you need to replace your air filters. 4. Consider Eco Tuning: You’ve likely heard the buzzword or perhaps heard folks talking about using replacement chips for your engine computer that increase the power while at the same time saving gas. How does that all work? Well, it might sound complex, but you don’t actually need to be a computer expert on complex technologies like IMAP forwarding or hosted exchange to get the basics. Essentially, eco tuners improve both ends of the curve. At higher speeds they give you more power with reduced efficiency and at lower speeds they give you better efficiency. You just choose with the gas pedal which mode your vehicle uses. 5. Close Your Windows: Believe it or not, similar to how ski racks can increase friction while driving, opening your windows can increase turbulence and cost you fuel. So to the extent that you’re able to, try relying on your car’s ventilation system rather than driving with your windows down. Over long distances and at higher speeds, this can really help your fuel economy. 6. Fill Up Less Frequently: Don’t fill up unless you are on empty or at least close to having the light go on. Admittedly, when gas prices are rising it can make sense to fill up before prices increase further, so there may be other factors to consider, but as a general standard try not to always drive around with a full tank. It will mean less cargo load for your vehicle to carry. There are a myriad of other ways to increase fuel efficiency, but hopefully this post helps gives you a few initial money saving tips to consider. If you have any tips or tricks of your own that you’d like to add, we’d love to hear them. Please share in the comments.