Gerber Life Family Times --- News and tips for familes of all ages and stages of life

The Drive to Save Money  
Little changes can add up to more miles per gallon and money saved.


The Drive to Save Money
Little changes can add up to more miles per gallon and money saved.

Lactose Intolerance
Your taste buds may be saying "Yes!" to that ice cream but does your stomach disagree?

A Garden Under Glass
Kids can create a Terrarium

Get It To-Go!
Make sure that “on the go” meal is a safe one for your entire family.

Gerber Life Family Times Archive

FinancialWith each passing day, more and more people are becoming hypnotized by the spinning dials they watch as they fill the gas tank of the family car each week. For every crisis overseas, upcoming holiday, or summer driving season, the price of gasoline seems to push ever higher. Given the poor fuel economy (and driver popularity) of large sport-utility vehicles, it’s not uncommon for a weekly fuel fill-up to exceed $75.00. With gas prices nearly doubling within recent memory, the impact on family finances becomes more apparent with each passing month.

The situation has led to a proliferation of new products hitting the market that promise magical increases in fuel economy through the use of devices or fuel additives. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) warns that consumers should be very wary of any such claims. They add that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has evaluated or tested over one hundred "gas-saving" devices and has not found any that significantly improve gas mileage. In some cases, such devices have even been shown to have the negative effect of increasing exhaust emissions. The FTC also warns consumers against believing claims that the Federal government has approved any gas-saving device. Currently, no governmental agency endorses gas-saving products for cars.

FinancialIf you are looking for ways to save gas and money with your present car, you’re not completely out of control of the situation. There are a number of lifestyle habits and tips that will help squeeze every possible mile out of each precious gallon of gasoline. The United States Department of Energy and the EPA recommend the following steps to help improve your mileage and fuel economy:

Car Maintenance Tips:

  • Get a tune-up—Keeping your engine properly tuned and repairing serious maintenance problems improves mileage by an average of 4 percent.
  • Change air filters regularly—Replacing a clogged air filter can improve gas mileage by as much as 10 percent.
  • Use the proper motor oil—Be sure to use the grade of oil recommended by your car’s manufacturer. Using an incorrect grade of motor oil can reduce by 1 to 2 percent the mileage of your car.
  • Pump it up—Regularly check the pressure in each of your tires to make sure they are properly inflated. Proper tire inflation pressures are indicated on a plaque on the inside of the car door or in your owner’s manual.  Properly inflated tires can increase gas mileage by up to 3 percent.
  • Octane—Check your owner’s manual and use only the octane level gas you need for your car. High-octane gasoline comes at a higher price.

Driving Tips:

  • Remove excess weight from your car. An extra 100 pounds of unnecessary weight in your trunk can reduce gas mileage by 2 percent.
  • Use cruise control—Maintaining a constant speed on the highway uses less gas.
  • Use overdrive—When an overdrive gear is used, your engine speed slows and uses less fuel.
  • Watch the speed limit—Gas mileage generally decreases rapidly at speeds in excess of 60 mph. The EPA notes that, as a rule of thumb, assume that each 5 mph you drive over 60 mph is like paying an additional 20 cents per gallon of gas.
  • Drive sensibly—Avoid speeding, rapid braking, and rapid acceleration ("jackrabbit starts"). Aggressive driving habits can lower gas mileage by up to 33 percent on the highway and by 5 percent in city driving.
  • Avoid long idles—If you anticipate a lengthy wait, turn off the engine. Idling burns more gas than restarting the engine. Also, limit the time you spend warming up the car in winter.

Lifestyle Changes:

  • If you are traveling a short distance, walk or bike when possible.
  • If your children are in activities with neighbors or you work with a neighbor, carpool whenever possible.
  • Plan your driving to make the most efficient use of the trip. If destinations are near each other, park centrally and walk to each stop.
  • Combine trips to visit destinations that are near each other (if an errand is on the other side of town, combine it with another reason to be in that area).
  • If you are considering a new car, look at more fuel-efficient models that will suit the needs of your family.
  • If you are planning to move, look for a home or apartment close to your job or close to public transportation or the mass transit system for the area.

So while gasoline continues its upward climb and each stop at the gas station claims a little more of your family’s weekly budget, think about the little things you can do to save gasoline where you can. With the help of some basic maintenance and a little thought into your daily commute and errands, you will be well on the way to using gasoline efficiently and saving your family money!

Federal Trade Commission—
U.S. Department of Energy & U.S. Environmental Protection Agency—

Articles are provided for the general interest of our readers. Gerber Life Insurance is not responsible for any content and recommends that you consult the appropriate professional with any questions or concerns you may have concerning any financial or health related issues.

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