(Columbia) Nov. 17, 2005 - Anywhere you go, you're paying more for gas than last year.
Driver Hank Hanson knows the toll it takes on his budget, "Rising gas prices, rising heating costs, rising cable, what can you do?"
Well, there are actually a number of things you can do:
- Keep you car in good shape.
- Get regularly scheduled tune-ups to keep an eye out for problems.
- Keep your tires properly inflated. The sticker on the driver side door should tell you the right pressure.
- And check and replace your air filters. Bryan Bouknight warns, "The biggest thing is a lot of people neglect the air filter. If the air filter is clogged, it can't breathe air. It's going to suck in more fuel."
By doing these things, the average person driving 12,000 miles a year can save about $170.
Also, driving more efficiently can save money. Speeding up too quickly or slamming on the brakes when you don't have to wastes gas.
And drive the speed limit. Gas mileage decreases significantly when you drive over 60 miles an hour. This could shave off another $200 a year.
What about driving a more fuel efficient car? Hybrids are so hot right now, there's two-month wait lists at some dealerships now. A hybrid costs about $3,000 more than its regular counterpart, but you save right around $300 in gas every year.
Chris Burns of Midlands Honda says the hybrid option will work for people who drive a lot, "People that are driving anywhere from 15,000, 16,000, 17,000 miles a year, they'll get their money back. If you're driving 10,000 miles a year, it's probably not worth it."
What about carpooling or ride sharing? In Columbia, Smartride comes in every weekday from Kershaw and Newberry counties. It costs $1.50 one-way, but it probably only works for people with 9 to 5 jobs. Combined total savings adds up to about $670 a year.
So, it's the little things that add up, because gas prices will likely not go down as much as you'd like.
Reported by Heather Brown