With oil prices continuing to waver more up than down and rumors that regular gasoline may rise to more than $4 a gallon in the coming months, there are ways to keep money in your pocket instead of the gas tank.
Riley Tillman of Tillman Automotive in North Bryan County said one of the best and easiest things to do is make sure you keep your vehicle properly serviced.
"You want to be sure to keep your air filter and fuel filters clean. They should be replaced every third oil change, or about 9,000 miles," Tillman recommended. "And if you haven’t had a tune-up in a while, that can help also."
Economic analysts reportedly think the U.S. dollar’s depreciation is the reason oil prices increased to a record high of about $112 a barrel in the last week.
Meanwhile, a study on how much time drivers spend on their daily commute to work showed the average driver wastes nearly an entire work week each year, or 38 hours, sitting in traffic, according to information from the Associated Press, published by CNN.com.
Increasing gas prices don’t appear to have had any impact on commuter traffic, either.
In Bryan County, the Georgia County Guide for 2005-2006 estimated the county’s work force to include almost 11,000 people.
Of that, 75 percent – nearly 8,000 people – were working outside of Bryan County and more than 300 were working outside Georgia.
The average commute to work was more than 82 miles round trip for a Bryan County resident, with an average of 76 percent of commuters driving alone.
But the Development Authority is working to change those figures, helping provide more employment opportunities right here and preventing longer commutes to businesses outside Bryan County.
"We have at least 250 employees that are now able to stay within our area, based on the opportunities available with companies in the Interstate Centre," said DA Executive Director Jean Bacon.
Bryan County also offers one Park and Ride option for carpoolers, with a lot located at I-16 and Hwy. 280.
Here are some ways you can achieve better gas mileage with your vehicle:
Drive more efficiently
- Speeding and rapid acceleration/braking can reduce your mileage by 33 percent at highway speeds and five percent around town.
- Gas mileage usually decreases rapidly around 60 m.p.h. As a rule of thumb, for each additional 5 m.p.h. you drive over 60, is like paying 20 cents more per gallon.
- Remove unnecessary items from your vehicle, especially heavy ones
- Avoid excess idling, especially if you drive a larger vehicle
- Use cruise control on the highway; the constant speed you maintain helps save gas
Keep your car in shape
- A serious engine problem can reduce your vehicle’s mileage by up to 40 percent
- Clean air filters not only help with gas mileage, they protect your engine
- Keep your tires inflated to the proper pressure
- Use the recommended grade of motor oil and look for oil that says ‘Energy Conserving’ on the API performance symbol
- Buy gas in the early morning or late evening. Gas is denser when it is cooler, therefore more concentrated.
- Most cars run fine on regular octane. Even if your car specifies premium, try the medium grade and see how it performs – it may save you a handful. Check your owner’s manual to see the recommendation.
- Don’t bother topping off – excess gas evaporates.
- Once the pump clicks, turn the handle so it’s upside down. Whatever gas is left in the pump will go into your tank, instead of the next driver.
- Make sure your gas cap is tightened after each fill up.
- Learn about which gas stations offer the best prices. Notoriously, Wednesdays offer the cheapest gas prices of the week.
- Consider a gas rebate credit card.
- Information from FuelEconomy.gov and www.tips-to-save-gas.com