Friday, June 20, 2008

Baby, you can drive my car

With gas prices up $4 a gallon, what's a girl-on-the-go to do? First off, kiss those $1.50-a-gallon days aurevoir, because they are never coming back

Now that we've taken a sip of that reality, have you planned how you will accomodate the dramatic increase? Back home I had two cars: a Land Rover and a Miata (since moving out here, my parents have sold the Miata, boo!). Now that I've come to grips with how I'll miss toodling around town in my Miata (I'm a convertible kind of gal), I'm left with the CA option of the Land Rover, a 2-ton behemoth that drinks about $100+ per fill and gets 13 miles to the gallon. 

We all know the obvious ways of saving on gas, such as carpooling, or walking when a car isn't needed. (Us fashionistas have been guilty on more than one occasion of opting to drive across a shopping center parking lot instead of walk because we've been in stilettos all day.) But what about not-so-obvious gas-saving ways? For instance, did you know that by leaving your windows open while speeding down the freeway, you reduce your gas mileage by 10% because of the air drag? To break that down in dollar signs, if it costs you $60 to fill your gas tank now, that would be $6 you literally throw out the window! To be a Brunette on a Budget is to drive on a budget, too, so try these tricks next time you're at the wheel to get the most out of your gas tank:
  • In this day and age, there is no need to allow your engine to warm up. Cars in the last couple of decades have been built to run shortly after they're started.
  • Try to consolidate how many stops you make when you're out and about. Stopping and starting the engine continually is a dreadful waste.
  • Yes, the car next to you at the light may look like it wants to race, as it revs its engine, but this isn't Meet the Parents, and in the end, you'll have the last laugh when the light hits green and they blast off with their pedal to the medal. Both engine revving and "jack-rabbit starts" are sure fire ways to drain your wallet. For all you smooth operators out there, remember to accelerate slowly from a dead stop and don't press the pedal down more than 1/4 of the distance between it and the floor.
  • Believe it or not, what time of day you buy your gas can affect how much you spend. When you buy gas during the coolest time of the day (either in the early morning or late evening), you'll be buying it when it's at its densest; because pumps measures volumes (and not densities), you'll be getting more for your money.
  • If you see a hill coming up, step on it sistah! You save gas by accelerating before you're on the hill rather than when you're climbing it.
  • If you're one of those drivers who fancies huge, deep tread tires on your vehicle, beware! Not only is it lacking in lady-like demeanor, but the deep tread creates a sure-fire way of wasting gas.
  • The faster you drive, the more gas you burn. I've heard that driving above 40 mph forces your ride to overcome much wind resistance. Of course, we can't always drive 40 mph everywhere, but remember this gem when you're going 60, 70, or even 80 mph. Driving 55 mph, for instance, saves you 21% in mileage over going 65 to 75 mph. (If you're going to follow this rule, though, please drive in the far right lane -- no one likes a slowpoke!)
  • While you're driving, rest your perfectly pedicured tootsies on the ground, not the pedals! Apparently even the slightest amount of pressure puts a mechanical drag on your car's inner workings, which not only wears them down, but demands more fuel usage overall.
  • Why take the rough road when you can take the smooth one? Dirt and gravel roads steal away as much as 30% of your mileage. Stylish girls should never be driving on dirt back roads, anyway.
  • If it's been days since you cleaned out your trunk last, now is the perfect time to start. Nix any old rubbish in back, since extra weight wastes gas, especially when driving up hills. I have to admit I'm guilty of this. My trunk is replete with a random Emeril Lagassi 40-lb CAST-IRON SKILLET (it was a wedding present; I love making fajitas!), along with pairs shoes and heavy car tools Love uses for fixing our ride.
Moral of the story is gas is on it's way up, kiddies, so buckle up and save smartly!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Great tips. Also, I was told that the AC will use up gas power. Not sure if that's true or not but my AC isn't working right now so it's a mute point for me.

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