In my excitement to write the other piece about spending (and in the interest of keeping it from getting too lengthy), I did not put in some information about trip consolidation. The boys and I share rides all the time when we have evidence to hide upstate or to do some other jobs. Sharing rides is a good idea. (Good teenage girls accepting car rides from Nicky is not a good idea.) But sharing rides is not always practical, especially when you get the urge to do some errands.
Fueling up is expensive. Here in the state of New York, sixty cents of every gallon purchased is in taxes. See what kind of losers keep getting elected here?
What should I do? Glad you asked.
- First, plan your timing.Where are you going, and when? Try to avoid rush hour.
- If it's just one stop, can it wait? If you put your trips together and do them all in one shot, you're saving money; separate trips cost more in fuel and aggravation.
- Plan your route itself. I try to make a loop of sorts in my travels. A right turn into the men's club, a right turn and go further down the road to the gun shop, a right turn into one of my offices, a left turn into my favorite babe's apartment complex, a right turn... Capice?
- Avoid driving in reverse. Going backwards uses more fuel, or so I'm told. Since I don't like backing up in the first place, I'll pull through... I don't know about the rest of the world, but the US has parking places that look like an H, good for two vehicles. I pull through the first one so I don't have to back out later. Just drive out.
- Take your time going into stops. If you see a traffic light, stop sign or whatever, you can usually take your foot off the accelerator. That is, don't have the hammer down all the way to a stop that you expect. It uses more fuel, and puts more wear on the brakes.
- Maybe you can make a stop on the way home after work or school.
- Don't rely on the cheap stuff. In the US, there are usually three grades of fuel available. Using the cheapest one gives you poorer performance, so you spend more in the long run. The mid-grade (often called "special") is plenty. Premium is for the high-end cars. Super premium is a gimmick.
- Is it worth the drive? Sometimes it's silly to drive six blocks further to save a few grotzits when you'll spend more in fuel than you'll save on the item in question. And if it's something significant, maybe mail order is better than driving to the mall where it costs more anyway. But factor in the shipping.
- Basic vehicle maintenance. This should be obvious, but some people don't think about it. Good spark plugs, tune up, tire pressure and so forth.
OK, play time is over. I have to go pick up a cake and take it to the club. See you next time.