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Ways To Save Money On Petrol

Contributor:
Paul Ambrose
Paul Ambrose

Back when I was in primary school, a good friend of mine was convinced that by the time we grew up we would all flit about in hydrostatic hovercraft.  Have you heard of those exotic energy efficient machines that could (theoritically) float just above the ground?

Unfortunately they aren't yet a reality—leaving us to find more conventional ways to reduce our fuel costs.

Here are some practical tips on how to save money on transport:

Make sure your car is well-maintained 

This means more than just keeping the tires inflated; it also includes changing the oil, air and sometimes fuel filters; regular tune-ups; and even biting the bullet and going in for that 100,000 or 250,000 kilometre check-up. 

Another aspect of maintenance is driving-style (addressed in the next point)—sticking to the speed limit can save you significant amounts of petrol—going 60 km instead of 80 saves you 20% on fuel.

Make sure your car is well-used

By this I mean not only defensive driving rather than Andretti-style, but also incorporating errands into your daily commute, such as trips to the grocery store, pharmacy, and even the mall.  Do you pass by any of them on the way home from work?  Stopping off and taking care of business now can save you from having to make another trip later. 

Also, try working your commute time a bit earlier or later, so you don’t hit so much stop-and-go traffic.

Make sure your car is one that uses gas well

Gas guzzlers are definitely out; econo-cars and hybrids are in.  Would it behoove you to trade it in for something a little slower and smaller, perhaps?  Or consider getting rid of two wheels altogether—motorcycles and scooters have much better mileage than even the best of hybrids.

Don’t use a car at all

The dreaded “p” word:  public transport.  But seriously, it really isn’t so bad, and many cities have really invested a lot of money in providing a good public transportation infrastructure; why not try using it?  Check with your public transportation agency to see if any of the routes would work for your daily commute or errands. 

Still can’t handle the idea of riding the bus?  What about cycling to work instead of driving—a little early morning/late evening exercise would save you gas two ways, and summertime is the perfect season to fit in some extra outdoor time.

Use someone else’s car

You know those carpool lanes that drive you crazy on the way to work and back home again?  Desperate times call for desperate measures, they say.  Is there anybody you work with that you could share a ride with one or two days a week?  It all adds up.

Whatever solution you decide on, keep in mind that there really are no easy answers to saving on gas these days.  It takes a bit of a lifestyle change to really make a difference.  And let me know when they come out with those hovercraft!

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