You wouldn't know it by all the fleece around the office, but the start of summer driving season is only days away. With oil prices relentlessly pumping up gas prices, some drivers are looking to the enterprise and the Internet for ways to save on gasoline.Here's what they're finding:
1. Make Like UPS, Avoid Left Turns Route planning technology used by UPS saves the company's delivery trucks millions of gallons in gas annually. Routes are optimized for efficiency, and that means eliminating left turns wherever possible. A UPS truck can idle for minutes while waiting to turn left, and the gas mileage of an idling engine is zero miles per hour. By making fewer left turns, drivers idle less and save more -- gas. This idea can be easily adopted for personal driving without the need for an enterprise-grade logistical app.
2. Stop Getting Lost An idling engine isn't the only thing working against you. Missed exits and wrong turns can add miles to a car trip. Besides, who has time for impromptu re-enactments of Lost? Even if you firmly believe your innate sense of direction is sound, you can save time -- and gas money -- by using a personal navigation device (PND), more commonly known as a GPS. Get one and learn to use it. Especially if you believe your inner compass will guide your path. (You know who you are.)
3. Get A Gas Rebate Use online tools to find the lowest gas prices near you. Check GasBuddy.com before you hit the road, or from the road using your mobile device. Some credit cards pay rebates on gas purchases. At $4 per gallon, a 5% price break is 20 cents per a gallon back in your pocket. CardRating.com rounds up several deals and compares them.
4. Know Your Mileage By the way, how many miles per gallon does your car get? Are you sure? The quickest way to find out is by using a downloadable calculator. Here's an Apple widget for OSX, and one for PCs. Both are free. For a really detailed record of how far you've travelled, and at what speeds, over an extended period, check out a GPS tracker like TrackStick. Once you know your true mileage, you can start making adjustments.
5. Let Them Buy The Gas If you drive 10,000 miles per year or less, look into ditching your car and becoming a member of Zipcar, or i-Go, or another car-sharing service. You pay to use a car when you need it, and the fee includes gas and insurance costs. Zipcar says its members report saving "over $435 a month."
If you liked these, check out 5 Extreme Gas Saving Tips.