Frugal Advice from Patrick J. Beaird

Reducing Your Pain at the Pump

Here in Springfield (IL) gas has been hovering around $4 per gallon for weeks! At that price even filling up a gas can for your lawn mower can hurt, let alone a mini van. While buying gas may be painful, don't get depressed just yet. Let's go over some pro-active steps to minimize the pain and make the most of the situation.

  • Gas mileage -- Find out how many miles per gallon your vehicle gets. You can get the official numbers by checking the manufacturer's specifications or for more accurate mileage numbers, track fill ups and mileage driven between each for a few months. Get yourself a pen and a small note pad and tracking your mileage is a piece of cake!
  • Where, when and how often -- Identify the places you regularly drive, such as work, the store, church and school, how far the round-trip is and how often you drive there.
  • Calculate the cost -- Now that you know you're MPG as well as where, when and how often you go there, take the time to figure out what it's costing you to go to each place per week or month.
  • Use your new knowledge -- Use the information you now possess to make better decisions about the use of your vehicle.
  • Plan -- Planning where you go, in what order and when will help you avoid additional gas consumption and time.
  • Drive less – Every time you decide NOT to go somewhere, think about the money you just saved!
  • Evaluate your driving style -- Consider driving less aggressively, take your time. At 4 bucks a gallon, the gas you save will add up quickly.
  • Shop closer to home -- Given the price of gas; it's not always worth it to drive all the way to the discount store.
  • Shop along the way -- Shop at stores along the way to or from work and avoid a trip to the store later.
  • Walk or ride a bike -- Park the car and get there on your own power. Saving money while improving your health can be especially satisfying.
  • Car pool -- Collaborate with a group of friends or co-workers and save money together.
  • Ride the bus -- With a little planning and patience, you can get where you need to go for a fraction of the cost of driving.
  • Consider a different vehicle -- Crunch the numbers and determine if a different vehicle will be worth while. Make sure you include all the costs related to a different vehicle, from monthly payments, license and insurance to average yearly maintenance cost before jumping to something else just because it gets better gas mileage. You might find out that the vehicle you have is worth keeping.
  • Reduce your fleet -- Reduce the number of vehicles you own to avoid and eliminate a number of costs? Why pay for more vehicles than you really need!
  • Shop online -- Look into shopping online for everything from groceries to movie rentals. The gas money and time you save can be significant.
  • Be calm -- A good demeanor even in the face of rude drivers will help you stay off the gas and maintain a good attitude.
  • Good working order -- Make sure your vehicle is in good working order including proper tire pressure to ensure optimal gas mileage.
  • Keep Score -- Track of your savings over time and celebrate your victories!
With a frugal mindset about the use of your vehicle you are sure to reap some worthwhile benefits. Happy motoring!

I answer select questions and share experiences and tips through my articles. Feel free to write me at: or Patrick Beaird, P.O. Box 9203, Springfield, IL, 62791

Copyright 2007 Patrick Beaird