Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Hard Hitting Facts That Are Factual

Tip Of The Day: I’ll separate the Truth from the Myth on using less gas while you drive. Don’t I sound like Dateline? Next week’s episode? Five Foods that can kill you Dead, just by Smelling Them.
I know, just what we all need – more hyperbole.

Tip For Tomorrow: In honor of shrinks, Sex and the City: The Movie, and the shrinks on Sex and the City, we’re sharing our Secret Singles Behavior. If you remember that SATC episode, Carrie’s secret behavior involved saltines, grape jelly, and fashion magazines. Which sounds a lot dirtier than it really is.
So stop by and tell the world what you do at home when no one is watching.

Further Elucidation Of My Cheap Deal: Last Thursday, when I was on the Cooper Lawrence Show doing my weekly segment (see how I worked in that bit of shameless self-promotion? God I’m good), we discussed different ways to save gas when you’re driving.

We covered the basics, like make sure your tires are properly inflated, but then I threw in a super-cool tip I had learned years ago. You know, back when gas prices had crept up to a SHOCKING $2.79. I’d KILL for those days… Moving on.

The tip (which I heard on some news program or another) was ‘Fill your gas tank up in the morning.’ Gas supposedly expands in the heat, so to get the most gas for your buck, you want to pump it when it’s cool and un-expanded (that could be a word, shut up). As the day progresses, the gas heats up and expands, so you get less gas-per-square-inch if you pump in the afternoon.

Yeah, that’s a myth. Damn! And it sounded so good and science-y!

In light of my oops, I decided to print here only the tips that other people much smarter than me say are true. If you take issue with any of these ideas, take it up with CNN.

True Tip: Make sure your tires are properly inflated. Under-inflated tires reduce fuel economy (God, does that sound like I know something or WHAT?).
However, don’t over-inflate your tires – which could lead to a greater chance of crashing your car. Eking out a few extra miles per gallon should not be done at the risk of death and destruction.

True Tip: Turn off the AC. Using your AC while you drive creates extra work for the engine, increasing fuel use. Will you save a TON of gas if you don’t use your AC? Well, no. But it is something you can control, and feeling in control is a BIG THING when gas prices are so OUT of control.
Here’s what I do – I run the AC while I’m cruising, and then switch it off when I accelerate. So every time I speed up to pass someone, or pull ahead after a stop light, I actually push the button to turn off the AC. Once I’m running at a even speed, I’ll push the button again to turn it back on.
When I tell people this, they look at me like I’ve lost my mind. Why?

If you don’t want to run your AC, don’t ruin the gas savings by rolling down all your windows. The drag on your car also creates extra work for your engine. So you may as well save your hair-do and turn the AC back on.

True Tip: Slow the heck DOWN. The other day, two teen boys in matching racing Hondas, blasted by me and Larue. They were going about 900 thousand miles an hour. Just think of the gas they were wasting. Not to mention, they were mucking up my gene pool with their inferior stock.
But as Larue said, “They are a self-correcting problem.” Too true. I just hope they don’t take anyone with them when they eventually shuffle off this mortal coil. Which, by the way they were driving, should be some time next week.
Every 10 miles per hour faster you drive reduces your fuel economy by approximately 4 miles per hour. This would explain why our speed limits back in the olden days (late 70’s, early 80’s) were 55 miles per hour. The government was actually trying to help us save money. Who knew?
Plus, if you drive the speed limit you won’t run the risk of getting a speeding ticket. Granted, you’ll miss out on meeting that totally HOT trooper who pulled me over a month ago, but there has to be a better, cheaper way to meet hot troopers. Get a flat tire or something. Fake engine trouble.

True Tip: This last idea comes from my Dad, and he is Very Proud Of It. So, Pay Attention. Also? Get A Hair Cut; I Don’t Like That Particular Style On You. Oh wait, that last tip is just for me. My bad.
Dad says you need to figure out how much more money you’re spending on gas each month. For him, it’s $75 per month more. Then, figure out where you can cut that $75 (or whatever the amount is for you, Dad drives a lot) out of your budget. For example, don’t eat fast food anymore. Or, stop drinking Choco/Frappa/Lotta Lattes every day. Or, quit buying In Touch and Life and Style once a week. Yeah, once again that last tip was just for me.
To be honest, I have no idea where my Dad is cutting out $75 a month. He’s a frugal, non-wasteful man to begin with, so what is he eliminating? Food? Toilet paper?
Maybe you know something you could cut out of your monthly budget. Like cable TV, or long distance, or your cell phone, or doctor’s visits? Hey! This sounds like a question for my readers!

Question For My Readers: What could you cut out of your monthly budget to off-set the rising price of gas? Inquiring and frugal minds want to know.


Max said...

I would probably stop sending shirts out to be laundered. I really HATE to iron shirts (pants, I don't mind, and my wife thinks I have gone totally ape because I like to iron my handkerchiefs) but at some point I would suck it up and iron them myself, maybe keep a few professionally pressed ones on the bench in case of a more formal occasion.

Also, for my own gasoline-saving practice, I try to accelerate/decelerate like Barry White (ie, as smoothly as possible). No flooring it from a stop unless it's really called for, and no standing on the brakes to try to stop on a dime.

Mrs. G. said...

I think impeaching GB might lower gas prices? Just a thought.

Nikki said...

I did the following things on the advice of my dad:

I just cut out my movie channels from my cable package and got rid of one of my cable boxes.

I canceled my gym membership.

Lastly, I simply scaled back. I don't buy things I don't need just because I really want it.

Apparently my dad wants me to be bored, unhappy AND fat. Thanks, dad.

Anonymous said...

I could stop shaving under my arms. In fact, this could be the beginning of a powerful movement of American women. Or. Not.

Michelle said...

Congrats on the weekly spot on Cooper! That is very cool.

I've stopped buying coffee from Starbucks everyday. I make it home now. A couple of times a week I treat myself to Starbucks coffee.

Like Nikki, I am more thoughtful with my purchases. Even at thrift stores. I ask myself if I'm ever going to use it or if I really need it. It's helped to cut back on those darn impulse buys at Target.

I grocery shop at Super Target because the prices are so good. That way I get more bang for my buck.

Anonymous said...

Hey sports fans, here's the real situation. There are two things you have to think about.

1. Work is equal to the weight moved over the distance. Its going to take some amount of energy to go from here to there. You're really just playing with the fringe amounts around overcoming inertia etc. The afore mentioned 4 MPG over 10 MPH really represents the very best gain you make by speed control. So how much is that really?

Assuming that in the 65 mph to 55 mph shift, 10 mph represents about 10 min on average, and an average economy of 25 mpg, with $4 per gallon gas. Given this, by slowing down you save a whopping $1.33 per hour you have lost by driving slower.

Is your time worth $1.33 per hour? Note - this isn't $1.33 per hour behind the wheel. That number is much smaller. This is $1.33 for every EXTRA hour you sit behind the wheel where the extra time is because of slowing down.

That's like $0.21 for your hour trip in the example.

2. Gas engines are designed and tuned for peak efficency at some certain speed, and then that speed is geared to some certain highway speed. Traveling underspeed increases the load on the engine and creates a mechanical form of resistance known as "lugging." Its unlikely that your engine is optimized for 55 mph. Although slowing to 55 might save you 4 mpg, slowing to 52 might actually cost you that 4. Slower isn't always better.

El Jefe

Anonymous said...