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  • The long, hot summer.

    The long, hot summer.

    by:
    Phil Brown

    So I've come to some realizations in the last month. One is that it’s the start of the summer driving season. Second, I am not Nostradamus or anything but I know gas prices will be soaring higher.  I know this because the media tells me so.

    In the debate, we’ve heard in all forms of the media about unrest in the Middle East, supply and demand, and uncertainty with the refineries in Mississippi, etc, causing the gas price to rise. Also adding fuel to the fire, pun intended, is the amount of tax the HST adds to the price.

    Everyone is beginning to feel the pinch now. Gas prices are affecting what we buy at the supermarket because retailers are passing on the cost of transportation to the consumer. Unfortunately some consumers are having to make the choice between buying groceries and buying gas. Not an easy choice by any means.

    Gas prices jumped nearly seven cents to their highest level ever on May 10th, 2011. Last year at this time the price ranged from approximately 93 cents to 1 dollar.

    When I’m walking to work I hear what sounds like multiple jackhammers hitting the ground. When I take a really good look and focus, I notice the noise is actually people gritting their teeth about these rising prices as they are filling up at the pumps.

    Taking care of a car is a full-time job. I believe there are some tips drivers have to keep in mind to incrementally put a few more dollars in their pockets and some gas in the tank.

    Here is a checklist to keep handy :

    • Keep regular attention to your tire pressure: make sure you know the recommended tire pressure and monitor your levels. Under-inflated tires lose their tread quickly and waste fuel.
    • Review the manufacturer’s recommendation for the lowest grade of gasoline for your car:  This information is in your owner’s manual and could save hundreds of dollars a year.
    • Ensure that your gas cap is on tightly: this will stop any gas from escaping and staying where it belongs – in your gas tank.
    • Gas Shopping: Reviewing websites like www.tomorrowsgaspricetoday.com or www.gasbuddy.com  might assist you in finding the best gas price in your city and save a lot of travelling time. It might take some work but it will save on gas.
    • Drive Slower: Driving or accelerating too fast leads to more fuel consumption, meaning you could have to line up at the pump a lot sooner.
    • Don’t weigh down your vehicle: Carry only emergency items you need like jumper cables, etc. and take out the excess you don’t need. As well, removing a bike or ski rack when you are not using it will reduce the amount of fuel you use.
    • Carpool where you can: Sharing the ride with more people means cutting your gas bill considerably.
    • Bike, use transit, rollerblade and walk where you can: I expect to see in the coming days of wonderful weather many of these modes of transportation being utilized. One for reasons of health and the other for the case of padding the wallet.

    I’m not certain how long this recent spike in gas prices will last but what I do know is consumers must keep reeducating themselves on saving money. 

    It could be the difference between this and other purchases that are important to them like grocery shopping.

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