By Mark Foster
Gasoline prices are inching their way back up again. Any time fuel costs increase, it takes a bigger bite out of a family’s vacation plans or their overall budget.
The reality of increasing gasoline prices is that it can wreck a family’s budget. People who may particularly struggle more with increased costs are those on a fixed or limited income, those who drive a gas-guzzling vehicle, or those who must commute a long distance to work or school.
A few tips for those looking to keep their gasoline costs under control:
- Don’t “floor it.” Fast starts and Indy 500 style driving drastically cut down fuel efficiency and can burn 30 percent more gasoline.
- Make sure your air and gas filters aren’t dirty. Dirty filters waste up to 10 percent more fuel. It’s like a jogger trying to breathe through a straw.
- Check to make sure the air pressure in your tires is adequate. Underinflated tires not only result in lower gas mileage, but wear out your tires sooner as well.
- Extra weight makes your car work harder. If your trunk is doubling as a storage closet, remove some items. For every 100 pounds of extra weight in the car, you lose 1 m.p.g.
- Explore your options. If possible, use public transportation. Ride a bike short distances. Or find carpool friends to split the costs.
Stretching your gas dollar can be helpful, but if it’s not enough, you may need to take a step back and look at your overall household budget to see what else you can adjust.
Mark Foster is Director of Education with Credit Counseling of Arkansas (CCOA). CCOA is a member of the National Foundation for Credit Counseling. To schedule an appointment with a Certified Consumer Credit Counselor contact CCOA at 800.889.4916, or visit CCOA online atwww.CCOAcares.com.
Views expressed are the personal views of the author, and do not represent the views of the National Foundation for Credit Counseling, its employees, its members, or its clients.