It's no secret that energy and fuel costs are rising at historic and alarming rates. Recent comments by one of the most well respected oil analysts indicate that $12 per gallon gas in inevitable in the US! One of the not so well known drivers for the recent increases are the effects of China’s economic boom in their ramp-up to the 2008 Olympics in Beijing. Most analysts predict that even after the Olympics fuel costs will continue to climb albeit at a slightly less frightening trajectory. Like it or not, the days of cheap energy and easy to find oil are behind us. The combined effects of the rise of China and India’s middle class along with the increased costs of oil extraction (via more unconventional methods such as oil shale extraction, tar sands and horizontal drilling techniques) will continue to have a major impact on the cost and availability of energy.. So what can we do? Many of us are preparing for trips over the Memorial Day weekend and are facing the realities of high fuel costs head on. Here are some tips to lessen the impact this travel season.
Maintain adequate tire pressure! Under-inflated tires can have a significant impact on your vehicle’s fuel efficiency. Under inflated tires expose more of the tire to the road. This increases rolling resistance and creates more drag on the engine, lowering your fuel economy.
Reduce your load as much as possible. At lower speeds, the vehicle’s weight has a significant impact on the power required to get it moving. Ditch those unnecessary items in your trunk and wash and wax your car for decreased wind resistance!
Avoid the rush! Planning every trip to avoid having to rush to your destination will help dramatically. Leave in plenty of time to avoid having to speed. Use traffic services to plan the most efficient and least congested route to your destination. Take the road less traveled!
Pay attention to the road and avoid harsh starts and stops! Be vigilant while driving. Anticipate stops and traffic slowdowns and try to avoid having to get in situations where you have to apply your brakes heavily to avoid hitting the car in front of you. Maintain a reasonable distance and let the engine and weight of the car provide the stopping power.