Increasing oil and gas prices are creating an economic strain throughout
the world. When people spend more money on gasoline, they retain less money
for consumer spending which is the force that drives national economies.
Furthermore, oil and gas price inflations cause prices of consumer goods to
increase leading to less consumer spending. Many people are considering ways
to reduce personal fuel consumption to save money. This would greatly benefit
the economy because if people spend less on fuel expenses, they will have more
money available for consumer spending. There are a number of ways to reduce
fuel consumption, including driving less, changing driving habits, and purchasing
fuel efficient vehicles (Autohaus).
Driving less is an obvious way to spend less money on fuel. Car pooling is
one way to drive less. Instead of five employees traveling to work in five different
vehicles, the same five could travel in one vehicle cutting fuel expenses and
consumption by eighty percent. “Many cities have even created car pool lanes on
their freeways and highways” (Autohaus). For some people, carpooling may not
be feasible; however, there are other ways to reduce fuel expenses.
Many people who live in large cities could reduce fuel consumption when
traveling to and from work by utilizing public transportation wherever it is
available. If more people are using public transportation, then the energy used to
power that transportation is not wasted or lost. Public transportation mediums
operate at maximum energy efficiency when they are filled to maximum capacity.
Unfortunately there are thousands of people who live outside of the major cities
and do not have access to public transportation.
For those who reside in suburban or rural areas, a great way to reduce
fuel consumption is to combine errands (Autohaus). Because cars are generally
more fuel efficient once they are properly warmed up, instead of running errands
on separate days, people should attempt to complete grocery shopping, pet
supply shopping, pet grooming, prescription refills, and any other common task in
one trip to allow their vehicles to run at maximum efficiency. Beyond driving less,
there are other possible ways of reducing fuel consumption and expenditures to
People should consider changing their driving habits to allow their vehicles
to operate at higher fuel efficiency. One habit that many people would have
trouble changing is how fast they drive. “Most cars are designed to operate at
peak fuel efficiency between 35 mph and 60 mph” (Autohaus). Unfortunately
maximum speed limits on most interstates and highways exceed 60 mph, making
it easy to travel faster. “Statistics show for every 5 mph over 60 mph you drive,
you lose almost 10 percent of your fuel efficiency” (Autohaus). Also, avoiding
excessive acceleration and using cruise control whenever possible can greatly
improve the efficiency of vehicles. These are excellent ideas for improving fuel
efficiency when driving on highways, but what about city driving.
People who constantly drive in cities can improve the efficiency of their
vehicles by avoiding unnecessary idling. An idling vehicle uses gas without
moving, causing every drop of fuel burned during the idle time to be wasted. One
great way to reduce idling time is to avoid “rush hour” traffic. Government
employees can benefit from flex scheduling and alter their arrival and departure
times at work. Many businesses are also beginning to allow flex scheduling for
their employees (Autohaus). Because changing driving habits is difficult for many
people to do, there is another possibility for them to consider.
People who are looking to purchase new or pre-owned vehicles should
consider purchasing alternative fueled, hybrid, and other fuel efficient cars.
Alternative fuel and hybrid vehicles may be more expensive to purchase, but they
can save drivers hundreds of dollars on fuel. An alternative fueled vehicle like
GM’s flex-fuel cars and trucks can operate on E85, an 85 percent ethanol and 15
percent gasoline mixture. This fuel has a higher octane level and therefore allows
the vehicle to perform better and at higher efficiency. Unfortunately, E85 is not
available everywhere. People who do not have access to E85 should consider
purchasing gas-electric hybrids or another fuel efficient vehicle.
Gas-electric hybrid vehicles typically achieve double the gas mileage of
traditional vehicles. By driving a hybrid vehicle with twice the mileage, the owner
can cut fuel consumption by half; therefore reducing fuel expenditures also by
half. The higher purchase prices of many hybrid vehicles may deter most car
buyers, but owning one can save enough money in fuel expenses over the
lifetime of the vehicle to accommodate the higher initial cost. After the consumer
saves enough money on fuel to recover the price difference, future savings would
make the purchase more valuable. Because some people cannot afford a new
hybrid vehicle, people should consider small, compact cars that have high
There are several options to consider when purchasing a new or used fuel
efficient vehicle. Volkswagen and Toyota are two companies that produce highly
efficient cars. The Volkswagen Beetle and the Toyota Yaris are two of the many
cars these manufacturers produce that are rated well above the usual 30 mpg
mileage rating. People who own and drive these vehicles use approximately
thirty percent less fuel than people who own mid-sized sedans.
In conclusion, there are several ways to reduce fuel consumption and
expenditures. People should consider these and other fuel saving ideas when
they want to save money on gasoline. If more people would drive less, change
their driving habits, and purchase fuel efficient vehicles, the global economy
could benefit because the money these people save on gasoline would translate
into consumer spending and stimulate economies everywhere.
Autohaus Arizona. “Auto Repair #14: Top Tips to Improve Fuel Efficiency.” 2007.
30 Apr 2008. <http://www.autohausaz.com/html/improve_fuel_efficiency.html>.