Tightwad Tuesday 4: Gas Pains
We all probably know the main solutions: walk more, bike more, take public transportation, carpool, drive less, drive a more fuel-efficient car. But some of them require a shift in attitude or behavior, others are challenging based on where you live or other circumstances of your life (I do know a mom who bikes with her two small children on a double-trail-a-bike, but that's not practical for many of us), and others are too expensive in the short term even if they save money or help the environment in the long run. We would have loved a hybrid but couldn't afford one that met our other needs (room for 6 for carpooling, etc.), and public transit, while widely available in our area, can cost us more out of pocket (not to mention time) than driving (even with ownership and maintenance figured in).
But as with so many things in life, it may be that the devil is in the details, and that we can make a difference with small changes, too.
Cait and I were debating whether it really saves money to drive with the windows down instead of A/C. Interestingly, I, who LOVELOVELOVE air conditioning, was arguing for open windows -- I think I was enjoying feeling a tiny bit martyred -- and Cait, who gets cold in JULY, was arguing for using the A/C because the open windows make too much drag. Turns out Cait was right as far as highway driving is concerned, but we're unclear about city/suburban driving at lower speeds and with lots of stop & go. Natalie turns out to be a big fan of open windows and was irritated this weekend that we used the A/C. "Put window down. DOOOOOWN!"
I've read a little about hypermiling but think it would probably make me nuts, and not result in much savings, but maybe I should learn more.
I know we should combine trips and plan better, but that's an area we have to work on... seeing as Cait went to the grocery store today and then I remembered something I really, truly must have tomorrow for a work event, so had to go back tonight. D'oh!
So what do you do with the constraints you have to maximize your gas dollars?