June 12, 2007 > Avoid the Summer Pinch at the Pumps
Avoid the Summer Pinch at the Pumps
Submitted By Andrea Aker
Drivers nationwide are feeling the pinch at the pumps, and as record high gas prices set in across the country, the pinch isn't likely to lighten up during the peak driving season, according to Mike Sullivan, director of education for Take Charge America, a national non-profit credit counseling agency.
"Now that $3 a gallon - or more - is the norm in many parts of the nation, consumers are feeling the financial strain whether they're planning a summer getaway or just trying to get to work," he said.
According to a recently released survey from AAA, traveling this summer will be more expensive than last - and not just at the gas pumps. Combined, lodging and restaurants are expected to be about 3.7 percent more expensive than last year.
If you are one of the millions planning to hit the road this summer, Sullivan offers seven tips to help you save:
* Keep vehicle properly maintained - Get regular tune ups and vehicle maintenance checks to improve gas mileage. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, drivers who follow the manufacturer's maintenance recommendations should avoid fuel economy problems due to worn spark plugs, dragging breaks, low transmission fluid or the transmission not going into high gear.
* Check tires - Check your tire pressure regularly to be sure that they are inflated in accordance with the manufacturer's specifications. AAA says properly inflated tires can increase gas mileage as much as 2 percent.
* Combine trips - Let your daily or weekly errands accumulate until you can complete them in a single trip. In addition to saving gas, you will reduce wear and tear on your car.
* Lighten the load - Remove heavy objects from your vehicle. They heavier the vehicle, the more gas it expends.
* Drive gently - An easy touch on the accelerator and slower speeds will also save on gas.
* Do your homework - Check around for the cheapest gas in your area. Prices can vary up to 20 cents per gallon from block to block. Web sites like http://gasbuddy.com provide users with a list of the cheapest gas stations by zip code.
* Avoid peak driving times - If possible, adjust your work or school hours to avoid peak traffic times at rush hour. This may involve coming into the office an hour later and leaving an hour early, or visa versa. This way, you and can get to your destination sooner with fewer stops and idle time.
* Find alternative modes of transportation - Carpool or use public transportation whenever possible. This can include trips to work, school, sports practice or a night on the town. You should also consider walking or cycling to nearby locations.
About Take Charge America
Founded in 1987, Take Charge America, Inc. is a non-profit organization headquartered in Phoenix, Ariz. TCA offers a variety of services including financial education, credit counseling, and debt management. To learn more about TCA or its programs please call 1-800-823-7396 or visit www.takechargeamerica.org.