Car insurance, gas prices and economy

I don’t know about you, but every time I’ve paid another bill and things seem to be getting a little better, there’s always another economic hurdle I have to overcome. Take the recent rise in gas prices. While some might argue it’s insignificant, it certainly isn’t. Aside from the usual homeowner stuff and commercial maintenance and insurance costs, as well as the never-ending auto maintenance and coverage premiums to contend with, the price hike is hitting us all hard.

While diesel truck drivers can rightly complain about the constant rise in costs, the average car, van, motorcycle, ATV, RV or ATV is now being stabbed with the painful punch in the wallet. Economists, as well as the leading insurance companies, will tell you to fight back.

Fight back? How do you battle the gas pumps?

This is how:

1. When buying a new car, choose a car with excellent mileage.

2. Research gas prices and patronize pumps that offer the best rate per gallon.

3. Be consistent with vehicle maintenance practices: have the oil and filter changed as recommended and replace the air filter according to the vehicle manufacturer’s instructions.

4. Check your car’s fan belt. If it’s installed too tight, make sure it’s loose enough so that your engine doesn’t overwork and neither does your gas level.

5. Monitor all four tires and tire pressure. If you have little air, your gas will unfortunately also go a step further with exertion.

6. If the summer heat is too much to bear, at least use your car’s air conditioning. However, if you’re okay with the windows rolled down, turn off the air conditioning. Note: this is only fiscally advantageous on city roads; driving with an open window on the highway only increases overall vehicle resistance and engine effort, requiring an overdose of gasoline.

7. Avoid unnecessary loads in your car, as the extra weight will keep your car moving fast and require more fuel.

8. If you can avoid the busiest driver times on the road, by all means do so. Rush hour driving, with all the stopping and going, takes its toll on your fuel level.

9. Carpooling is a good idea, especially if there is a group that goes to the same company or school location day in, day out. You not only save on gas, but also on the wear and tear of daily car use and the risk of accidents or collisions.

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10. Instead of driving everywhere, try walking and cycling healthily. You will do your physical well-being a huge favor, as well as your gas tank!