DALLAS — We’ve been complaining a lot about gas prices. But there are some remedies that may help some.
First, a couple of non-‘judgy’ items: Just keeping your tires properly inflated and using the right kind of oil in your engine can make your average MPG (miles per gallon) a couple of percentage points better.
Now that we’ve covered that, let’s enter the judgment zone where we use words like “them” and “they” to describe a lot of other drivers. I drive with “them”, and ”they” shouldn’t be complaining about gas prices. I can say that, because I was one of “them”.
Maybe you still are.
If your MPG has been trending lower, you can make it a lot better, no matter which kind of vehicle you drive.
This is about the driver more than it is about the car
If you regularly brake hard and accelerate hard, drive aggressively and speed, it can reduce your gas mileage by up to 40%! I have read studies about this, but I didn’t take them seriously because until very recently, I was still one of “them”... drivers who are in a hurry and are sacrificing gas mileage because of bad driving habits.
But I have changed. Nothing extreme – I’m not gliding in neutral and clogging up the lane. But as a driver, I have chilled way out. I did it for more sanity and relaxation.
But a big bonus, my gas mileage has consistently been 30-40% better. I am not making this up. The MPG monitor in my car confirms it.
I am also filling up less often. And I am sure my blood pressure has inched down a bit.
Depending on how you drive, you may be paying even more per gallon than you think
If you click here and scroll down to the box labeled 'What is the penalty for my car', you'll find an interactive tool that shows you how much more gas you use for every five mph you go above 50 mph.
You select your specific vehicle, enter what you pay for a gallon of gas, and then look for the speed you usually go.
The site shows you how much more you’re paying per gallon as you burn through gas faster.
Even at these prices, drivers in the U.S. may have it relatively good
Even if you are really aggressive, there are a lot of drivers in other parts of the world who are paying much more than you. High gas prices are a global problem, not unique to the U.S. Maybe we notice it more here because the U.S. consumes more gasoline than any other country.
And Texas consumes more gasoline than any other state. We’re shelling out more than others because we burn a lot of gas.
In a weekly rundown of average gasoline prices around the world, here was a sampling of what drivers are paying in U.S. dollars for a gallon of gas:
- Hong Kong: $10.97
- Norway: $9.64
- U.K.: $7.70
- Uruguay: $7.25
- Canada: $6.35
There are plenty more examples like that. In fact, the U.S. came in on the less expensive part of the list, with an average price per gallon of $4.66. That is actually the 45th cheapest gas price in a ranking of 170 countries around the world.