Wednesday, March 5, 2008 at 9:55am by admin
We’ve all been complaining about high gas prices for awhile now, but this year’s increases could really hit your wallet hard. Prices estimated to be $4 a gallon in some areas of the United States coupled with a possible economic recession presents a scary scenario for many Americans. Although we can’t stop prices at the pump from skyrocketing, it is possible to find those sought-after spots around town that provide better deals. Below you’ll find a list of tools that will aid you in your quest for the cheapest gas available.
Plan ahead by checking out these sites or signing up for e-mail updates from those in the know.
- GasBuddy.com: Click on your U.S. state of Canadian province to start your search for cheap gas. Prices are tipped off by other visitors by the minute, so you’re always the first to know. This website also lists national averages and the states or cities with the lowest prices.
- MapQuest Gas Prices: Search the lowest gas prices that are nearest to your home or office by typing in your address. MapQuest also lets you search by gasoline type: regular, diesel, or alternative fuels.
- GasPriceWatch.com: Gas prices are separated into three categories: green prices are less than 12 hours old, orange ones are less than 24 hours old, and red ones are more than 24 hours old. Users can type in a location or click and drag on the U.S. map to find nearby stations.
- MSN Autos: Enter your zip code to access a detailed map of the most economical gas stations in your area.
- GasWatch: Set up this widget on your website or blog to get updates on the cheapest gas available in your U.S. zip code. Once you’ve selected a particular gas station, click on the Map It button for directions.
- Gas 3.0: Mac users can download this widget which “provides a simple, elegant, easy to use method for finding the cheapest gas in the area, right from your Dashboard.”
- Motor Trend: This popular car and racing website also features a gas price locator. Click on your state, county and city to find the lowest prices available for regular, plus, premium and diesel fuels.
- Fuel Gauge Report: The fuel gauge report from AAA reports local and national gas price averages each day. If you’re planning a trip, type in your departure and destination cities to get a rough estimate of how much cash you’ll need to spend on gas.
- FuelEconomy.gov: This government website has current gas price data for cities all over the country. Find cheap gas near you or read the helpful gas mileage tips to help you conserve the amount of gas you use.
- IGoogle Gadget: This post from Lifehacker discusses the Local Gas Prices iGoogle gadget that alerts Google account holders of the cheapest gas in their area.
- Automotive.com: This helpful site finds the cheapest gas in your area and compares it to the national average so that you can see how much you’re really saving.
- Yourcitygasprices.com: Sites like sanantoniogasprices.com and washingtondcgasprices.com quickly link you to the cheapest prices in your city. Type in your city’s name to see if you’ve got a site!
- InternetAutoGuide.com: InternetAutoGuide.com is another site that lets visitors find cheap gas prices in their neighborhoods.
- My WikiMap: GoogleMaps finds the cheapest gas prices for you when you enter your address or zip code.
Tools for your Phone
Sign up to receive text messages and alerts when gas prices drop.
- firstname.lastname@example.org: Send a text to this e-mail address to get alerts sent right to your phone.
- FuelGo.com: FuelGo.com supports another texting service that lets you compare cheap gas prices when you send them your zip code.
- mobGas: Enter your cell phone number on this website to receive free SMS alerts once gas prices drop. You can also view maps of each neighborhood to help you locate each station.
- 411Sync: Get connected with 411Sync, and access “your favorites at your fingertips.” The gas price locator is only one of several useful tools that this service provides.
- GetMobio: If you’re already a GetMobio user, add on the Gas app “that helps you get the cheapest gas in your surrounding area.”
When You’re Already in Your Car
Sleek navigation systems will help you find the cheapest gas around when you’re running on empty.
- MSN Direct: Get traffic reports gas prices, weather reports and movie times sent to your vehicle’s navigation system via a local FM signal.
- StreetPilot c580: This navigation system supports MSN Direct, and with a free trial, users can enjoy gas price locators and maps at no charge.
- nuvi 670: The nuvi 670 is a “widescreen personal travel assistant” that displays maps and gas prices all over the country so you’ll be able to fill up on the cheap even when you’re in a new place.
- nuvi 680: A slightly less expensive model than the nuvi 670, the 680 is still a trusty driving companion with its weather and traffic updates, gas price locators and easy-to-use “large touchscreen display.”
Awards Cards and Rebate Programs
These credit cards offer excellent rebate programs to help you save money each time you buy gas.
- Discover Open Road Card: The Discover Open Road card pays users 5% back on all gas purchases and all automotive purchases, including maintenance.
- AmEx Simply Cash Business Card: This card is specially designed for small business owners, but anyone who puts in a fair amount of driving time will reap the benefits. Members receive 5% back on all gas purchases.
- Chase Freedom Credit Card: This credit card is “the only credit card that gives you triple rewards where you spend the most.” If you’re constantly pumping gas, then you’re in luck.
- BP Visa Card: The BP Visa Card was voted the “best gasoline credit card of 2006″ by Kiplinger’s Personal Finance. Earn double rebates for the first 60 days, and enjoy a 5% rebate at all BP locations after two months.
- Citi Drivers Edge Card: Earn up to 6% rebates on gas purchases plus additional rebates just for driving around town.
The following articles offer more tips and advice for finding the cheapest gas in your town. You might be surprised to see where you can get more great deals!
- 12 Ways to Find Cheap Gas: This article from MSN Money provides a list of tools and ideas for finding cheap gas in your area, including stopping at Wal-Mart or the grocery store.
- Cheap Gas Prices: Find out why gas prices are continuing to rise with the information provided in this article. Readers will also find useful tips on locating the lowest prices in their area.
- How to Find Cheap Gas: eHow.com shares its secrets to getting cheap gas: visit low income areas, get gas at a wholesale club and more.
- Where to Find Cheap Gas and Gas Saving Tips: This article not only gives tips for finding cheap gas, it also encourages readers to research alternative fuel options.
- 5 Ways to Instantly Find Cheap Gas: This popular article from LifeClever lists its top 5 tips for finding cheap gas.
For many Americans, driving to and from work, school and extracurricular activities is a necessity. Public transportation systems are lacking in most cities, and walking from suburbia into the city is out of the question. Paying too much for gas, though, doesn’t have to be your only choice, however. Consider using some of these tools and tips for finding the cheapest gas in your neighborhood, and you could wind up saving a bundle each year.
Tuesday, March 4, 2008 at 10:08am by admin
Hypermiling, or driving your car “in a manner that maximizes mileage,” has become more popular among drivers worldwide, as concerns over increasing gas prices and environmental issues heighten. Whether you’re trying to make a difference by helping the environment, or you’re just aiming to save a few more dollars at the pump each month, check out this ultimate guide to hypermiling, which provides tips and resources for smart driving.
Below is a list of hypermiling tips that drivers can implement while behind the wheel. We recommend practicing one or two tips at a time and gradually working your way up to the whole list so that you aren’t overwhelmed.
- Drive a stick shift: If you’re used to driving automatic, switching over to a stick shift might take a little practice, but it’s definitely worth it. Once you have more control over the vehicle, you’ll be able to master more hypermiling tricks.
- Stop speeding: The harder you press the gas pedal, the more gas you’re using. If you’re driving over the speed limit, you might save time, but you’re definitely wasting gas and money. Slow down a little if you can so that you’re driving at or just below the actual speed limit.
- Coast instead of braking: When you see a stop sign up ahead or a traffic light turning yellow, immediately take your foot off the gas and let your vehicle slow down by itself. If you wait until the last possible minute to brake, then you’re wasting all the gas you used when you could have been slowing down.
- Cruise Control: One automatic setting that actually helps hypermiling is cruise control, which prevents “you from “creeping” up in speed without realizing it,” according to Epistolary.org.
- Put your car in neutral: Coasting with your car in neutral takes the burden off your gas pedal preventing you from wasting fuel. If you’re not driving in heavy traffic, experiment with this effective money saver.
- Lighten the load: The heavier your car is, the harder it has to work to propel itself forward. Empty out your trunk and backseat of ice chests, beach chairs, and other items that you’re not using to lighten the load.
- “Shift slow and low”: The site Epistolary.org urges drivers to “shift slow and low,” whenever possible to give your vehicle more mileage.
- Drafting: This technique comes with a warning sign: according to many hypermiling experts, it is incredibly dangerous. A “deliberate form of tailgating,” the forced auto stop involves turning off your car’s engine and then following closely behind the vehicle in front of you “in order to take advantage of the reduced wind resistance in [the other car's] immediate wake.”
- Find a route that’s easy on your vehicle: A story in the Washington Post discusses the benefits of “optimiz[ing] your route” when implementing hypermiling tricks. Instead of taking the scenic route to work, which could include more hills, twists, and dips, try finding a route that features level roads and less traffic lights or stop signs. Generally, “a longer route with better driving conditions” can use “less gas.”
- Park in the sun: The blogger Joe Future believes that parking your vehicle in the sun is a hypermiling tip for two reasons: “On a cold day, parking in the sun keeps your car warmer.” Also, a warmer car “will get to “auto-stop” mode faster than a cold car, so you’ll sit idling at fewer red lights while you’re waiting for auto-stop to kick in.”
- Roll down the windows if you’re not on the highway: After the scorching hot temperatures of the summer have retreated, stop blasting the air conditioner and roll down your windows. According to Drive.com.au, “It is generally accepted that air-conditioning increases fuel consumption by about 10 percent but winding down the windows increases drag, which is also an enemy of good fuel consumption.” If you’re going to be on the highway, keeping your A/C on low is still a good idea, but if you’re taking a joy ride, think about getting a little fresh air.
- Turn off the car before putting it in park: Joe Future suggests turning off your vehicle before putting it in park to save gas. If you don’t, “the gas engine will come on before you shut off the car.”
- Don’t leave the car running: It may seem like a good idea to let your car idle while you dash into the store to grab the milk or drop off a rented movie, but doing so wastes gas. Take the extra few seconds to pull into a real parking spot and turn the car off first.
Taking your car for regular check ups is another easy way to maximize mileage. Check out these helpful maintenance hacks that will keep your car running smoothly and efficiently.
- Get an oil change: Keeping up with scheduled oil changes will help your engine run more easily. Adequate oil levels and lower-weight oil can also make a difference in how quickly your vehicle burns fuel
- Check your tire pressure: Tires that are beginning to lose air and go flat put more stress on your engine, making it work harder and burn more fuel. Keep a tire gauge in your car and frequently check the tire pressure.
- Engine Control Module: Your vehicle’s engine control module “controls various aspects of an internal combustion engine’s operation,” including the amount of fuel being used by the engine, the ignition timing, and the variable valve timing. Making sure your engine control module is working properly will help you gauge how much fuel your car is using on a regular basis.
- Tire Balance: If your tires aren’t balanced correctly, you could end up wearing out certain tires faster than others, causing them to lose air and forcing your engine to work harder. Get a check-up for your tires if you think yours are out of whack.
- Conduct a seasonal check up: During the winter, your car could become bogged down with extra weight from snow chains, heavier tires, or other items. During the summer, you’ll probably be using your air conditioner nearly every day. Before each season, give your car a check up to unburden it of needless weight and to make sure the engine, A/C and other systems are in proper order.
These articles are full of great hypermiling tips, which will teach you how to save yourself from driving to the gas station every week.
- Drive Further — on less gas!: This simple guide provides tips for everyday drivers, “even if you don’t go to the crazy lengths” of obsessed hypermilers.
- Jesus Would Drive a Stick Shift: This article details the pros and cons of driving a car with a manual transmission. Find out if it really is better for the environment.
- Save Money on Gas the Way the Pros Do: The Hybrid Car Review offers tips and links for maximizing mileage and saving money at the pump.
- Hypermiling: Quest for Ultimate Fuel Economy: This article from Edmunds.com explores creative hypermiling techniques, like babying the brakes and placing cardboard over the radiator.
- This Guy Can Get 59 MPG in a Plain Old Accord. Beat That, Punk: This article chronicles the experiences of legendary hypermiler Wayne Gerdes.
- Get 50 mpg — in your own car: It is possible to get great gas mileage in your current car. Learn how with the ideas presented in this article from MSN Money.
- “Hypermiling” the law enforcement way: Forget about life threatening hypermiling techniques. This article offers advice on safe, legal methods any driver can practice.
- How to Surge and Coast your way to better gas mileage: Find out how you can save gas money by hypermiling even if you have to drive in a major American city.
- Hypermilers: Common sense or insanity?: The Environmental Economics Blog considers whether or not hypermilers are a little too obsessed with saving gas.
- Slow and Steady: Hypermiler drivers make every drop of gas count: This article unveils the subculture of extreme hypermilers. Get tips and learn about other drivers’ experiences that could improve your car’s fuel economy.
- Hypermiling your fuel economy — The greenest extreme sport cars: Discover the newest, most extreme trends in hypermiling, racing, and driving accessories.
- Hypermiling: How I’m Fighting the Fuel War: This article explores how raising our cars’ mpg would cause us to “use that much less gas, save that much more money, be less addicted to foreign oil, and contribute to a greener planet.”
- Beating the EPA — The Whys and How to Hypermile: This article, pulled from the CleanMPG Forums, dissects traditional EPA estimates and makes a clever argument for hypermiling, based on graphs, statistics and testimonials.
- 73 mpg? Try to top that!: Follow the story of one Chicago hypermiler who aims to achieve the “best mileage ever.”
Learn how to make the most of your hybrid experience by visiting the following websites and organizations which offer advice and information for hybrid car owners.
- Great Hybrid Cars: Find information on hybrid cars made by Toyota, Ford, Honda, and Nissan.
- HybridCars.com: This website includes guides for buying and maintaining hybrid cars, understanding the culture of hypermiling and driving hybrids, and general news about going green and preserving the environment.
- GreenHybrid: GreenHybrid is an interactive website full of pictures, forums, and articles about all kinds of hybrid vehicles.
- Hybrid Cars: Find out why you should buy a hybrid car with the information given on this website. Visitors can read a history of hybrids, find out how they work, and research the current cars already on the market.
- Hybrid Cars — Pros and Cons: This article from physorg.com includes a diagram of a Mercedes hybrid and provides helpful links to more reviews and information.
- How Stuff Works: Hybrids: Discover exactly how popular hybrid cars work, including the Toyota Prius and the Honda Insight.
- Hybrid Car Reviews: Compare prices, looks, and mileage with the help of this site.
- Hybrid Cars Guide: This “quick and easy guide” to hybrid cars features a glossary of terms, a history of hybrids, and an overview of the concept “going hybrid.”
- Hybrid Car Revolution: Stay on top of hybrid news and market updates by checking out the Hybrid Car Revolution.
- Hybrid Car Club: Talk about world energy issues, market news, and other fuel economy topics with hybrid enthusiasts on this site’s forums.
- Plug In America: This organization promotes “plug-in cars for a better America.” Check out the site for information and updates on plug-ins, networking and getting support for your car, and much more.
- Green Car Club: The Green Car Club “unites owners and enthusiasts of environmentally cleaner cars.” Visit their website to learn about the benefits of driving a green car and to link up with other environmentally-conscious drivers.
- Network for Good: The online community that puts everyday people in touch with their favorite charities also hosts a page just for hybrid lovers. Find out more about the movement, make a donation, or sign up to be a “virtual volunteer” and spread the word about how hybrids are helping the environment.
- Better World Club: The Better World Club is “dedicated to balancing economic goals with social and environmental responsibility.” Call them if you need an eco-friendly rental car or roadside assistance.
These men are lauded as a few of the leading experts on hypermiling. Look to them to find out about the newest tips for increasing your mileage.
- Wayne Gerdes: Wayne Gerdes is considered the inventor of hypermiling. Check out his interview with Marketplace Money to find out how and why.
- Bradlee Fons: Bradlee Fons is a frequent commentator and all around auto expert who is especially enthusiastic about hypermiling. This video shows him explaining to viewers how to get better gas mileage.
- Pat Goss: Pat Goss is the resident expert at Goss’ Garage on Washington Post Live and on the Motorweek TV Show. Tune in or email him questions to learn more about hypermiling and fuel economy.
These blogs publish articles about fuel efficiency and hypermiling. Check them out for more information on increasing your vehicle’s MPG.
- Environmental Economics: Tim Haab and John Whitehead often discuss the effects that cars have on the environment.
- Foursprung: Foursprung “is the ultimate car gadgets blog,” but it sometimes includes posts about hypermiling.
- Blog It Out Your Pie Hole: This blog covers a wide range of topics, including the economy, oil and gas, and hypermiling.
- Autoblog Green: Catch up on what’s new in the world of environmentally conscious cars. Articles range from market news to upcoming events.
- Green Car: This blog covers what’s new in the hybrid car industry, new car reviews, and more.
- Green Car Advisor: The Green Car Advisor on Edmunds.com discusses “news and commentary on environmental automotive trends and technologies.” Recent articles include “White House Plans Own CAFE Plan If Congress Won’t Act” and “Fuel Economy, Greenhouse Gases Making News, But No Talk of Fuel Tax Hike.”
- Green-Car-Guide.com: Paul Clarke’s blog considers the effects of cars on our environment.
- Go Hybrid Blog: Still not convinced? Read the posts on this blog to find out why driving a hybrid car is better on your wallet and the environment.
- Bike Commute Tips Blog: If you can, leave your car at home and get around town on a bike. This blog shares tips on how to do it safely and quickly.
- Save Gas: This blog features stories about car news and shares tips for increasing gas mileage.
- Energy Conservation Awareness Blog: If you’re a hypermiler because you’re concerned about the environment, check out this blog to find more great tips for preserving our planet.
- Save Gas MPG Blog: Join others in the discussion about gas prices, mpg, and other hypermiling topics.
- Daily Fuel Economy Tip: Recent articles include: “The Top 10 Ways to Reduce Your Gasoline Consumption” and “What’s Going to Replace Gasoline?”
- Live Green Blog: Access great tips for living a green lifestyle; including hypermiling and remaining conscious of your car’s fuel efficiency.
- Car Hacker: Car Hacker covers news about hybrid cars, fuel economy and more.
Best Cars for Hypermiling
If you’re in the market for a new car, check out these models for maximum fuel economy.
- Honda Civic Hybrid: The 2008 model boasts 45 mpg on the highway and comes with an idle-stop feature.
- Toyota Prius: The Toyota Prius is a favorite among green drivers. A push-button start, keyless entry, and “nearly 70% fewer smog-forming emissions than the average new vehicle” makes this car a smart choice.
- Honda Insight Hybrid: The Independent Honda Insight website provides visitors with an interactive guide to this “cleaner and more efficient” model that is super aerodynamic and environmentally friendly.
- Smart Fortwo: This adorable smart car has been popular in European countries for many years already. While it may have a hard time competing with gas-guzzling SUVs and monster trucks on American highways, its fuel efficiency is off the charts.
- Toyota Camry Hybrid: The Toyota Camry Hybrid was voted the “best mid-sized hybrid sedan” by ConsumerSearch.com because of its roomier interior.
- Toyota Highlander Hybrid: Driving a hybrid no longer means giving up your swanky SUV. The Toyota Highlander seats seven, but is still much more fuel efficient than a regular SUV.
- Saturn Aura Green Line Hybrid: The Saturn Aura Green Line Hybrid is a distinctly affordable hybrid car. It also “gets 25 percent better fuel economy than the gas-only version.”
- Saturn Vue Green Line Hybrid: The Saturn Vue Hybrid is a compact hybrid SUV that costs much less than other gas-only SUVs, and perhaps “only a few hundred dollars more” than typical Saturn SUVs.
- Lexus GS Hybrid: Lexus is known for creating quality vehicles, and the GS Hybrid is no different. This environmentally-conscious car still features a sleek exterior and a luxurious interior.
- Nissan Altima Hybrid: The Nissan Altima Hybrid can run up to 702 miles on a single tank of gas.
Tips for Serious Hypermilers
These tips are for the truly dedicated. Hypermilers should consider themselves warned, however. Some of these techniques are very dangerous.
- Pulse and Glide: This guide provides detailed directions for the pulse and glide hypermiling technique. Accelerate quickly to a few miles above the speed limit, and then coast down to a few miles below the speed limit.
- Warp Stealth: Click here for a detailed guide for implementing Warp Stealth on a Toyota Prius. This technique is achieved when “the car moves solely under electric power without the engine running.”
- Ridge Riding: If you want to save gas during or after a hard rain, hug the right side of your lane, or the shoulder if you’re already driving in the far right lane, to avoid driving in the puddles created by other drivers. A more detailed explanation can be found here
- Drive in electric mode: Toyota Prius drivers know that driving in the all-electric mode is “advisable” at the very end of a trip because “the batteries will recharge [more] quickly on your next start-up.”
- Downhill run: If you’re driving downhill, take your foot off the gas pedal and coast all the way down until you absolutely must brake or give your car a little more gas.
- Gentle rise and descent: The gentle rise and descent technique is based on the concept that only a “small amount of additional throttle will accelerate the vehicle before the rise is reached,” so that “additional power may be maintained on most of the upgrade.”
- Accelerate moderately: Unless you’re trying to merge onto a busy highway, accelerating slowly preserves gas.
- Run all your errands during one trip: Instead of running your errands several different times a day or spread out during the week, try stopping at the grocery store, video store, dry cleaning and (heaven forbid) gas station during one single trip. If you’re driving an electric car, this cuts back on its start-up time.
- Park at the highest point in a parking lot: This tip from MSNBC suggests parking at the highest point in a parking lot so that gravity will “get your car moving” when you turn it on again.
- Cool yourself down with an ice vest: Hypermiler Wayne Gerdes refuses to turn on his car’s air conditioner even in the summer. Instead, he wears an ice vest to cool himself down inside his stuffy vehicle.
Other Helpful Resources
- Hybridfest: Hybridfest is “an annual hybrid car show and more” where hybrid and hypermiling enthusiasts get together to swap tips, tricks, and information about fuel economy and being green.
- CleanMPG Forums: Participate in hypermiling debates with other users while checking out informative articles about hybrids and the environment.
- MPG Calculator: Found on the Sierra Club website, this MPG calculator tells you how many miles per gallon your car probably gets, the amount of money you spend on gas per year, how much pollution your car emits and your potential savings if fuel economy standards were modernized.
- Valuing the Lives of Hypermilers: This tongue-in-cheek calculator from the Political Calculations blog bases its computation on the danger/benefits quotient of hypermiling. For example, is it really worth helping the environment if you’re putting your own life at risk by practicing dangerous hypermiling techniques?
- Hybrid Lovers: This online store features designs for t-shirts, bumper stickers, and coffee mugs, and other promotional items. Choose from slogans like “Hybrids Make it Last Longer” and “If America is Addicted to Oil, Then I’m in Rehab.”
- The Great Race: The legendary Great Race celebrates its centennial in 2008, as drivers race from New York to Paris. This year, hybrids will be joining the race.
- HyperMilers: This website chronicles “the quest for ultimate efficiency.” Check up on the latest hypermiling and oil and gas news, network on the forums, or click through photos of hybrid cars.
- Hypermilers: Who Are They and What Do They Do?: Read this article to find out more about hypermilers and their fuel economy obsession.
- Hypermilers Go to Extremes for Savings: This story from Good Morning America brings the basics of hypermiling to everyday drivers.
- Hypermiling.com: Discover the Hypermiling.com “how-to methods,” buy hypermiling t-shirts, and find links to more stories and news articles about “driving to save gas.”
- Take It Slow and Save Big on Gas: This article from CNN.com urges drivers to stop complaining about over-the-top gas prices and start using basic hypermiling techniques like activating cruise control and driving at or below the speed limit.
- How to Become a Hypermiler: Read the article and check out the comments to find the best tips for hypermiling.
- Strategies for Smart Car Buyers: If you’re in the market for a fuel-efficient car, check out this guide to buying hybrids.
- Tailgating That Semi? Bad Idea: This article from the Car Buyer’s Notebook cautions drivers against tailgating or drafting behind large trucks just to save gas.
- 10 Ways to Boost Your MPG: Use Wayne Gerdes’ ten tips to maximize your vehicle’s mileage every time you get behind the wheel.
- Microtrends: Hypermiling: The Times tackles the hypermiling trend in this article.