ThriftyFun News May 25, 2004

ThriftyFun News

Volume Six, Number 21, May 25, 2004


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Last week we published some cheap meal ideas because gas prices are really starting to increase food costs. In this issue we are going to look at ways to deal with the rising gas costs over the course of this summer. We look at both summer traveling and the summer commute.


This newsletter contains:

Dealing With Summer Gas Prices

  • Gas Prices and Summer Car Travel
  • High Gas Prices and Your Commute
  • What Other People are Paying

From the Archive

  • Gas Saving Tips
  • Lowering Fuel Costs
  • Top 10 Ways to Save on Gasoline
  • You Can Save 10% on Gas
  • Consider Fuel Efficiency When Buying a Car
  • 18 Tips for Saving Money on Gasoline

Thanks for reading,


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Dealing With Summer Gas Prices

Gas Prices and Summer Car Travel

Wal-Mart announced recently their expectations of lower than normal profits due to skyrocketing gas prices. Wal-Mart's core consumers are people in the lower and middle class who often live from paycheck to paycheck. I am not worried about Walmart. They will be fine. But people who are traveling on a budget do have something to worry about.

Normally gas prices spike in the summer but driving still offers an inexpensive alternative to trains, buses and planes. It's still cheaper than buying a ticket to most places, especially if you need to transport a lot of people, but gas prices have reached heights that you may want to re-think your travel plans.


Here are some things to consider and some tips for traveling in the 2 dollar (or more) per gallon era.

Vacation Close to Home: The less you drive the more money you save. Chances are there are a number of attractions in your area and possibly even campgrounds, some of which you have never visited. By considering local recreational activities you can cut the gas cost considerably.

Destermine the Fuel Cost: Know how much the gas will cost you on the trip and be sure to bring extra money to pay for higher fuel prices. One problem with fuel prices going up is that everything will generally cost more. For people without a lot of disposable income, that usually means that credit cards get used more than usual. You can prevent that by having a good budget and a clear understanding of how much money you have to spend. Visit for help in setting up a budget.


Factor Insane Gas Prices Elsewhere: If you think gas prices are bad at home, wait until you get out on the open road and have to fill up at a gas station in between towns. Keep in mind that the gas price you encounter in your neighborhood could be quite a bit less than what you pay over the course of road trip. So when determining likely gas costs always add at least 10 cents to the cost per gallan to account for variations in gas prices.

Choose Your Car Wisely: Statistics show that most households have numerous cars. If possible, drive the car that gets the best gas mileage.

Plan Your Trip: Make sure that you pick a direct route favoring freeways over surface roads. Plot your trip out on a map and be sure to bring the map. Getting lost is a big waste of gas!


Avoid Rush Hour: When planning your trip, factor in not only traffic in your area but other cities you might be driving through. There is nothing worse than getting stuck in some other city's rush hour traffic. Stop and go traffic uses a lot of gas.

Gas Saving Tips for Road Trips:

Here are some general gas saving tips for travelers:

  • Maintain a contant speed.
  • Use overdrive whenever possible.
  • Check your tire pressure before leaving.
  • Use the low setting on your AC.
  • Open windows can actually cause so much drag at high speeds that they make your mileage worse.
  • Drive the speed limit.
  • Make sure your car is well maintained.
  • Don't carry any unnecessary cargo.
  • Note cheap gas prices at stations as you drive to your destination so that you can go to those gas stations on the way home.

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High Gas Prices and Your Commute

This summer's commute is going to be one of our most expensive in history. It's good time to consider all transportations alternatives.


Your company or community may have vanpools already set up which can be even easier than organizing a carpool. Go to the website of your local department of transportation to see what kind of opportunities are available to you. Also contact human resources at your company to see if they offer a vanpool or will help you organize a carpool.


Many companies will help you organize a carpool and often offer cheap or preferential parking to people who carpool. If there is nothing like that available you can always set up your own carpool or see if any fellow employess have one with an open seat. Even if you only find one person to share rides with you can cut the cost of your commute considerable.

The amount of money you can save by carpooling or ride-sharing is very significant. Many commuters have an annual fuel cost between $1,000 and $2,000. If you can organize a carpool with four people you can save between $750 and $1500. That is a lot money any way you slice it and that doesn't even take into account less wear and tear on your car. Even if you can only find one person to share your commute with you have cut your costs in half.

Public Transportation

You can usually buy monthly passes that offer a significant discount over the regular fare. If there isn't a train stop or bus station near your house look for a park and ride close to you.

Walking, Running or Biking

The distance you have to travel to work may make walking, running or biking to work impossible but if you live close to work its worth considering. Are you one of those people that lives 5 to 10 minutes from your work and drives everyday? You will save money on gas and get all the health benefits that regular exercise brings. If you work at a large company they may even have a shower room for employees.

Change Vehicles

If you currently drive a vehicle that gets poor gas mileage, switching to a car that gets great gas mileage will put a lot of money in your pocket. Also, many cars that get really bad gas mileage, like SUVs, cost more to purchase. You can save thousands of dollars a year by switching to a fuel efficient car. To evaluate your options and potential saving visit


The next time you move be sure to factor in the commuting costs. Research the availability of public transportation and the homes in close proximity to your job. It may not be the most important consideration when moving but it should be a factor in your decision.

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What Other People are Paying for Gas

Our fuel prices are high, but check these out. These are prices paid in some other countries (and these do not include recent increases due to world-wide demand). It could be worse...

Hong Kong, HONG KONG $5.45

London, UK $5.23

Amsterdam, NETHERLANDS $5.16

Paris, FRANCE $4.95

Stockholm, SWEDEN $4.58

Hamburg, GERMANY $4.53

Tokyo, JAPAN $4.25

Cork,IRELAND $3.60

Madrid, Spain $3.59

Bangalore,INDIA $3.18

Your City, USA $2.00+

Here are the countries with really low fuel prices. Venezuela's oil is produced by a government owned oil company which keeps gas costs really low for its citizens.

Kuwait City, KUWAIT $0.69

Cairo, EGYPT $0.55

Caracas, VENEZUELA $0.14

Source: AIRINC and CNN

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From the Archive: Gas Saving Information

Gas Saving Tips

Weather permitting, turn off the air conditioning and travel with the windows opened. You'll burn less gas. Also, fuel economy is higher if you fill up before your gauge reads below 1/4. Under inflated tires waste gas also, so check your tire pressure regularly, before you set out. Once you've driven a very few miles, accuracy is compromised. Whenever possible, car pool. When you have several chores, try to align them in the shortest, most direct route. : ) By Doggy

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Lowering Fuel Costs
By Kyle Busch

The hybrids cost about $5,000 above the all gasoline cars. The hybrids have most all of the components of a gasoline car plus the electrical components. I believe that the Japanese auto makers are doing "real world" testing for the electric motor, recharging system, etc. In five years, they should have all electric offerings.

View Article: Click Here

Looking for the cheapest gas prices? is a not-for-profit site to help you find the lowest prices in your neighborhood.

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Top 10 Ways to Save on Gasoline
By Cyndi Roberts

Gasoline prices are soaring!  Now is a good time to look at ways to save at the pump. 

View Article: Click Here

You Can Save 10% on Gas
By Gary Foreman

Recent gas price increases have many people complaining. There are many reasons given for rising prices. And depending on your political and economic bent, you may choose to blame OPEC, the oil companies, SUV's, lack of alternative fuels, the growth in world oil demand or environmental regulations that prevent new drilling or refineries from being built.

View Article: Click Here

Consider Fuel Efficiency When Buying a Car
By Fisher Swanson

When you need to buy your next automobile make sure that fuel economy doesn't get lost in the shuffle. Buying a compact car with good gas mileage is both friendly to the environment and your pocket book. You will enjoy the savings throughout the life of the vehicle.

View Article: Click Here

18 Tips for Saving Money on Gasoline
By Fisher Swanson and Susan Sanders-Kinzel

Gas prices are on the rise again! Here are some tips to help you conserve gas and save money as we approach summer gas prices.

View Article: Click Here

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May 25, 2004
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