Have you noticed the rise in gas prices lately? With all the driving we REALTORS do, we’ve noticed, and we bet you have too.  Whether you live here in Phoenix, or anywhere else in the nation, the cost of filling the tank has increased in recent months.  A number of factors have contributed to this new reality, but one of the biggest is the cost of crude oil on the global market.  And although the recent economic rebound has had many positive effects, the rising cost of gas has not been one of them.

So that’s the bad news.  Now what’s a person to do?  Well, here are some helpful tips to help you ease the crunch and get the most out of every gallon.

Under the Hood:

* Keep your engine tuned.  Tuning the engine can help you get better MPG (miles per gallon).

* Change your oil.  Using the grade of motor oil recommended in your owner’s manual and changing it according to the schedule recommended by your car manufacturer can help improve your mileage, too.

* Check and replace the air filters regularly.

Driver’s Seat:

* Combine errands.  Several short trips taken when your car is cold can use more fuel that one trip covering the same distance when the engine is warm.

* Consider carpooling.

* If you are shopping for a new car and your budget can afford it, consider purchasing a hybrid.

* Bus it, bike it, or hoof it whenever possible.  Have you checked the Walkability Score of your home and office address?  Speaking of which, your home’s walkability may improve its marketability when you go to sell it.

Junk in the Trunk:

* Remove non-essential stuff from your car trunk.  Having excess weight in the car can decrease your gas mileage.


* Keep your tires properly inflated and aligned.

* New tires and wheels may look nice, but if they are wider than the stock tires, they will create more rolling resistance and decrease fuel efficiency.

Gas Tank:

* Follow your owner’s manual recommendations for the right octane level for your car.  Using a higher octane gas than recommended offers no benefits and will cost you more at the pump.

Behind the Wheel:

* Stay within the posted speed limits.  Gas mileage decreases rapidly at speeds above 60 miles per hour.

* Avoid unnecessary idling.  It wastes fuel, costs you money, and pollutes the air.  Turn off the engine if you anticipate a wait.

* Avoid sudden jerky starts and stops.  You can improve gas mileage by driving more gently.

* Use overdrive gears and cruise control when appropriate.  They improve fuel economy when you’re driving on the highway.

* Consider shutting off the air conditioner, opening the windows, and enjoying the breeze.  It may be a bit warmer, but at lower speeds it will save gas.  That said, at higher speeds, the air conditioner may be more efficient than the wind resistance from open windows and sunroofs.

Here’s wishing you a safe and more affordable year!