In the early fall of 2012, California drivers awoke one morning to a sudden spike in gas prices due to problems at refineries in the state, including a fire that knocked out one Bay Area refinery producing 245,000 barrels a day, and a power outage that knocked out another in Torrance.Within days the statewide gas average rose to $4.66, with commuters from Riverside, Irvine and surrounding cities taking the biggest hit due to long commutes into and out of Los Angeles,where typical prices easily top $3.50 a gallon.
The ordeal, now settled by an early release of gas typically saved exclusively for the winter months, has once more spawned a question Americans keep finding themselves asking: when will gas prices go down and stay down? But others are asking a more important question, one that doesn't depend on the unpredictability of gas and oil companies and the prices they juristic.It's the question of what we, as consumers, can do to reduce our need and use of gasoline.
Many are turning to more fuel efficient cars, such as hybrid models of the Camry, Fusion,Sonata, and Civic. Others, who either don't have the means or desire to purchase a more fuel efficient car, are developing practical car care and driving habits that help them save a fewd ollars off each tank of gas.
Avoiding riding your brakes, for instance, can shave off as much as $1.35 each gallon, while avoiding sudden and aggressive acceleration and deceleration can improve mileage as much as33% on the highway.
Even removing excess weight can save pennies on each gallon of gas, as well as maintaining a healthy air filter and proper alignment. But the top dollar saver among commuters is one many have never considered: carpooling, which can save the average commuter anywhere between $20to hundreds a month.