Keeping More Of Your Money

11 05 2011

Dale BertramWe spend a lot of time in our cars…aside from our places of business…they are almost our home away from home.  The average American spends 72 minutes per weekday in transit, mostly to and from work or school.  That is 12 days a year!  Then on weekends we pile on even more miles.  In California, even with all of our car pooling we spend on average $5,797 just to get around…and we don’t even have poor roads to blame like our friends in other states who have to put down salt or sand in snowy weather and end up with potholes!  Fuel, insurance, tires and maintenance make up most of the $5,797. 

We can’t really control the cost of fuel and insurance but a well-maintained vehicle certainly keeps your cost down in all areas. How, you ask? 

  • Vehicle gas caps – About 17 percent of the vehicles on the roads have gas caps that are either damaged, loose or are missing altogether, causing 147 million gallons of gas to vaporize every year.
  • Under inflated tires – When tires aren’t inflated properly it’s like driving with the parking brake on and can cost a mile or two per gallon. Neglected tires also mean they won’t last as long.  Buying new tires due to neglect gets expensive.
  • Worn spark plugs – A vehicle can have either four, six or eight spark plugs, which fire as many as 3 million times every 1,000 miles, resulting in a lot of heat and electrical and chemical erosion. A dirty spark plug causes misfiring, which wastes fuel. Spark plugs need to be replaced regularly.
  • Dirty air filters – An air filter that is clogged with dirt, dust and bugs chokes off the air and creates a “rich” mixture – too much gas being burned for the amount of air, which wastes gas and causes the engine to lose power. Replacing a clogged air filter can improve gas mileage by as much as 10 percent, saving about 15 cents a gallon.
  • Don’t be an aggressive driver – Aggressive driving can lower gas mileage by as much as 33 percent on the highway and 5 percent on city streets, which results in 7 to 49 cents per gallon.
  • Avoid excessive idling – Sitting idle gets zero miles per gallon. Letting the vehicle warm up for one to two minutes is sufficient.
  • Observe the speed limit – Gas mileage decreases rapidly at speeds above 60 mph. Each mph driven over 60 will result in an additional 10 cents per gallon. To maintain a constant speed on the highway, cruise control is recommended.
  • Take care of your current car and it will last longer and save your money on insuring a new model and a car payment.
  • A well maintained car also saves you money on expensive repairs due to neglect.

Save yourself some money…take care of your vehicle and your vehicle will certainly take care of you!

Happy Motoring,

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