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How to Save Gas Money

Updated on April 10, 2009

Americans get very upset when gas prices pass 99 cents a gallon. When gas prices hit 4 bucks a gallon, many people were ready to start a revolution. Meanwhile, across the Atlantic, Europeans would tinkle with joy if gas cost as little as 5 dollars a gallon. A matter of perspective, I suppose. (And before you cite the American economic crisis -- the EU isn't doing a whole lot better, if at all.) Something citizens of all countries have in common despite the vast price differences in petrol, however, is our common desire to save money in this economy. Fortunately, there are several ways to do this, so you needn't worry about having to do something you can't.

1. Drive Less.

One needn't be a rocket scientist to figure out how this one works. Drive less, use less gas, save money. If you live in a major city with public transportation, you ought to be able to manage getting to work via it. Or school. Or the movies. Or wherever. If you live in the boondocks, you can consolidate your trips -- instead of going the grocery store on Monday, the library on Tuesday, the pool hall on Wednesday, etc., try to do two or more things in one day and save the gas you would have spent going back and forth.

2. Walk to school or work.

I knew a lot of kids who were driven to school despite living 1/2 a mile a way. This is not only a waste of gas, but a missed opportunity for the Nintendo (or whatever it is now) generation to get some exercise. The same goes for you, if you live close enough to work to be able to walk.

3. Ride your bike.

Bikes can be used for traveling to school, work, friend's houses, the mall, the movies, and even grocery shopping if you bring a backpack along. Excellent exercises and you'll have fabulous legs -- just ask Lance!

4. Carpool or Vanpool.

Get together with your workmates and draft a carpool schedule. Everyone contributes to gas and everyone saves money. Even if none of you have a car, you can hire a vanpool service and pay the driver a similar amount to carpool the lot of you. Same goes for your kids and their after-school activities.

5. Take the train.

If you live too far away to take a city bus to work, there may be a train station nearby that could get you there more cheaply than driving. My aunt used to park at a train station outside of Philadelphia and ride into Center City every day -- took her 40 minutes by train and would have taken 1.5 hours by car and lots of cash for gas and parking fees.

6. Take the bus.

There is a strange stigma associated with public buses in the USA and UK -- many people refuse to get on them, viewing them as a class statement. After living in Europe for so long, I've realized that this is ridiculous and the bus is perfectly comfortable and "cool" way to get around. In fact, I prefer it to trams and subways, and there is usually more breathing room. Don't spend a fortune in gas if you can buy a cheap bus ticket, as that would be silly.

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