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Paying at the pump

Gas prices are almost $4 a gallon and predictions have them climbing over the next few months. Rising gas prices are nothing new. Over the last five years, consumers have been on a roller coaster ride of fluctuating prices. About this time last year the price of gas was close to current prices, dropping nine months later.Increasing gas costs affect more than peopleís pocketbooks; summer plans are often affected, too.According to the U.S. Bureau of Transportation, people use personal vehicles for nine out of 10 summer trips (about 91 percent).This monthís Streetwise posed a couple of questions about gas prices. ìWith rising gas prices, have you made any changes on ways to save money? Will prices affect your summer plans?î

Theresa Burnett
We have to drive 25 miles to bring our kids to school in the morning. Now, my daughter does drive and is involved in many things. My son, on the other hand, is not involved in as many things and gets stuck at school and has to stay there as long as it takes for his sister to finish. He has to stay there because we canít drive back just to get him. My daughter also works and sometimes my son has to go to work with her and we pick him up there because it is closer. We also combine our trips to town and make one big day of it. The other thing we do to save on gas is my husband is a firefighter so he takes our big truck to work and we use the more fuel efficient vehicles. Or if it is nice outside, I will ride my bike to work.

Christina LePage
We brought a Prius the last time gas prices went up because our other vehicle is a truck. We have seen quite a difference in driving it and getting 40 mpg rather than 12 or 15. We try and plan our trips to town better so we are making fewer trips. But even with the rising gas prices we are still planning to travel to see family in Texas this summer.

Taylor Stamey
I just go to work and drive to feed my horse. Other than that I donít drive too many places. I donít go shopping, and I donít go out to eat.

Marion Matuszak
No, the rising gas prices havenít changed our plans. But I only live five blocks from where I work, so Iím lucky and can save money and use it to spend it other places. And we still have plans to travel to New Orleans this summer. Iím also lucky that we have two cars and no car payments. That helps save some money, too. Iíve learned my lesson over the last 27 years of marriage.

Sources: and http://bts.govFuel Saving Tips
  • Get regular tuneups: An engine tuneup can improve fuel efficiency by an average of 1 mpg.
  • Slow down: Driving fast uses more fuel. Driving at 65 mph rather than 55 mph reduces fuel efficiency by about 2 mpg.
  • Use the air conditioner sparingly: The use of air conditioning can reduce fuel efficiency by as much as 2 mpg at certain speeds and under certain operating conditions.
  • Plan trips in advance: Combine short trips into one for errands. Avoid traveling during rush hours, if possible, to reduce fuel consumption patterns such as starting and stopping and numerous idling periods. Consider car pooling.
  • Keep tires properly inflated: Underinflated tires can decrease fuel efficiency by up to 1 mpg.
  • Drive consistently: Unnecessary speedups, slowdowns and stops can decrease fuel efficiency by up to 2 mpg. Stay alert and drive steadily, not erratically.
  • Avoid jackrabbit starts: Abrupt starts require twice as much gasoline as gradual starts.
For other tips or more information regarding rising gas prices, check out

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