Sunday, June 8, 2008

What to do about high gas prices

The price of gas has been going up too much too fast. The pain at the pump is starting to affect people to the point of having to worry about gas thieves as illustrated by this story.  Here is a car that that 157 miles to the gallon, and is affordable.  Hope this will come to the USA soon.

Lowest Gas Prices in Buford, Cumming, Duluth, Johns Creek, Norcross, Suwanee

Atlanta Gas Prices provided by

Unfortunately, the prices will keep going up till we, as consumers learn to cut back and send a clear signal to the oil companies that we are willing to let go of the conveniences in exchange for lesser gas prices. So, lets explore a few ideas that can make a difference in the long run if we learn to make a few sacrifices. Doing nothing about it is a clear signal to squeeze us for more money. We have to recognize that small changes add up... a river doesn’t start as a river, but as tiny streams that adds up to make the whole.

Break free from the convenience tax. When you see the gas station on the opposite side of the road advertising gas for less, but you turn to the one with higher price because its on the same side of the road as you are driving due to the inconvenience of having to make an additional turn, you have sent the oil companies the message to take your pants a little lower next time. Break out of this habit, and not will you be saving a little bit of money that adds up over the years, but also are sending the message that you are not willing to pay for the convenience. Just to do the math, if the savings is 10c a gallon and you have a 11 gallon tank that you fill 4 times a month.

10c * 11 gallons * 4 times a month * 12 months = $52.80 per year. Seems like a small gain for the extra effort, but that’s at least an extra tank full per year. If we assume 50 million people would try this out, that’s $2,640,000,000 ($2.5 billion) of profit prevented from going into the pockets of oil companies in exchange for minor conveniences!

Use discount gas sellers such as Costco, Sams Club and Kroger groceries with gas stations. Yes, sometimes you have wait in line a few minutes, but this is one of those convenience penalty points I mentioned earlier. If you are out of gas and one of these stores are not close by, put in just enough gas to get to one of them. Only time I would fill a tank elsewhere is when I am in an extreme hurry and I can't get there without a full tank. If more people are willing to try this, it will send a clear signal to the oil companies. You know this works, because the gas stations close to one of these are always cheaper than ones further away.

Plan your trips better. See if you can combine several trips into one by re-shuffling priorities or limitations. Lets look at a simple common sense example to illustrate the point. Suppose you have to buy groceries and also go the gym, you might be thinking of doing it in 2 trips because you don’t want the groceries to spoil while you work out at the gym. By reversing the order, first going to the gym and then buying the groceries will help you combine the 2 separate trips into one.

If you have to travel to multiple places, try to find the best route by using online resources like google maps or yahoo maps. They both support adding multiple address and you can re-arrainge the route by dragging and dropping the markers to find the best route for you.

GPS to the rescue If you are on the road a lot and have to go to unfamiliar places, or the kind that gets lost a lot, consider buying GPS system. The money saved would pay for itself over the years.

Ditch the gas guzzler if possible If you have an gas guzzler that you bought when the gas was cheap, consider trading it in for a more fuel efficient one or a hybrid. Other option is to go all electric, but you are somewhat limited by range and cost of the vehicles.

Heres some info about electric cars

Zap World
Phoenix Motorcars
Dynasty Electric Car Corp
Commuter Cars
Plugin America
Green Basics
Tesla Mortors for those with deep pockets
EV Wrold

Just to get some idea of how much money we spend on gas, lets assume that you drive 15,000 miles a year and the gas is at $4 a gallon. Here is the math for running the vehicles for 5 years.

Gas Guzzler, assuming 15 mpg
(15,000/15 mpg) * $4 a gallon = $4000 a year => $20000 spent on fuel for 5 years of operation.

Gas Sipper, assuming 30 mpg
(15,000 miles/30 mpg) * $4 a gallon = $2000 => $10000 over 5 years

Toyota Prius, assuming 45 mpg
(15,000 miles/45 mpg) * $4 a gallon = $1333 => $6665 over 5 years

Difference between the gas guzzler and the Prius over 5 years is $13335. If you assume we have 1 million gas guzzlers on the road, that’s $13 billion of profits to the oil companies! If we can reduce these profits by a few $billion, do you think that would send a clear signal to the oil guys?

If we realize the fact that the small changes we make has a huge impact collectively, we should be able to overcome price gouging by the big oil companies.

1 comment:

DVrE said...

Also, you can use water to get up to 50% better mileage. More info here