If you haven't considered it already, the commute to work or school might be a good way to cut your gas expenditures. We offer discounted transit passes for the six municipal operators serving our campus; roughly 165 vanpools; bicycle infrastructure, including a popular bike lending library; and discounted carpool parking permits. And if you need help finding a carpool, we offer Zimride, a social media-driven online ridematching service. There are over 4,400 people who have signed up to share rides on Zimride. I encourage you to sign up today.
For those days you must drive, there is a whole school of thought on strategies for saving fuel. Some are painfully obvious, while others might require some behavioral changes. Consumer Reports advocates for doing the following:
- Driving at a moderate speed
- Driving smoothly
- Reducing unnecessary drag
- Not using premium gas unless it is absolutely necessary
- Minimize driving with a cold engine (luckily for us -- or not, if you consider the implications of climate change -- the weather is getting warmer)
- Keeping tires properly inflated
- Buy tires with lower rolling resistance
- Avoid idling
NBC4 Los Angeles offered some more creative ideas for saving fuel:
- Turn down the sound. This is because, according to one person on Facebook, drivers tend to drive more aggressively while listening to loud music, thus wasting precious fuel. Hmm.
- Lose weight. NBC4 writes that several sources say that decreasing the load in your car by 100 pounds increases your fuel economy by 2 percent. But it would probably help to lose weight too.
- Use a windshield shade to lower your car's interior temperature, thus reducing the energy your air conditioner must consume.
- Stay inside. NBC4 cites a 2009 US Department of Transportation report which states that 45% of fuel is consumed by Americans completing discretionary trips. Although the wording is a bit blunt, and potentially misleading, there is some truth in devising creative ways to cut on discretionary trips by ordering stuff online, or combining trips.
Treehugger has a whopping 66 ways to save fuel. I'll let you peruse them here.
I have found that most of my vehicle trips are to destinations that are over 15-20 miles from my house -- but they aren't entirely inaccessible via mass transit. As gas prices rise, I vow to take advantage of my UCLA Transportation-subsidized transit passes and complete more discretionary trips via mass transit and my bike or Xootr.