Getting Gassed!

Getting Gassed!

If you are like the average American, you use your car to transport yourself almost everywhere.  You drive to work, to school, to buy groceries, even for a quick getaway.  According to the US Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administration, the Average American travels an estimated 13,476 miles each year. 

As the cost of gasoline continues to be volatile, families are feeling the pinch on their monthly spending plans.  It isn’t uncommon to hear around the water cooler that a fill up is costing $60, $70 or even $80 at the pump.  You are probably feeling it too.

To find out what this really means for the household spending plan, Virginia Saves took a look at how much an increase of a gallon of gas might cost your family.  We analyzed various price increments in the cost of gasoline compared with the miles per gallon your car might get.  Certainly, if you can go farther on a gallon of gas, your costs are lower.  Assuming that we actually drive the average distances outlined above, if a gallon of gas increases $1.00 you could see a hit to your annual household spending of close to $900!  That is almost $75 each month.  The average driver has seen an increase this year alone of $20 per month in the cost of gasoline.

Price Increase
MPG/Cost Increase Per Year
 $       0.10
 $          89.84
 $    67.38
 $    53.90
 $    44.92
 $       0.25
 $        224.60
 $  168.45
 $  134.76
 $  112.30
 $       0.50
 $        449.20
 $  336.90
 $  269.52
 $  224.60
 $       1.00
 $        898.40
 $  673.80
 $  539.04
 $  449.20

With extra dollars taken away from your budget to pay for gas, we need to be all the more vigilant in maintaining control of expenses.  This money could have been spent on increasing your savings, reducing your debt or paying for the other components of your monthly expenses.  Here are some ideas to help you save more at the pump discovered at

1.       Drive sensibly: can increase your MPG 5 – 33% (.18 – 1.20/gallon)

2.       Observe the speed limit:  can increase your MPG 7 - 23% (.26-.84/gallon)

3.       Keep your car maintained:  can increase your MPG up to 4% (.15/gallon)

4.       Maintain properly inflated tires: can increase your fuel MPG up to 3% (.11/gallon)

5.       Use recommended grade of motor oil: can increase your fuel MPG up to 2% (.04/gallon)

6.       Avoid unnecessary idling: can cost you up to 3 cents per minute without AC and 4 cents per minute with AC on.

7.       Remove unnecessary weight from your car:  unloading 100 lbs could save you .04 - .07 per gallon

8.       When replacing your vehicle look at the fuel economy rating to get more MPG and save you $$$.

9.       Where possible combine trips to cut down on miles travelled.  Pick up the groceries on the way home from work rather than making a special trip. 

10.   Walk or bicycle where possible.  This is a great way to cut costs and improve your physique!

Tell us how you are coping with the increased costs in fuel and how you are adjusting your spending or activities to make ends meet!  Your ideas can increase savings for everyone!

Courtesy of Lori Irwin

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