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A Penny Saved Is Worth $200 A Year!

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    A Penny Saved Is Worth $200 A Year!

    What is a penny worth? For many it isn't even worth stooping down to pick up anymore when seen on the street. When it comes to operating your car, however, every single penny counts more than you may be aware.

    The reason for this is that each penny saved is compounded by the many miles your drive. Chances are that if you drive, you are wasting a lot more money than you ever imagined. By taking some very simple steps, you could save thousands of dollars.

    Your savings will be determined by the number of miles you drive each year. For example, if you drive 20,000 miles a year, each penny per mile you can reduce in your car's operating expense is worth a cool $200 in your pocket. That's right -- every penny is worth $200 a year! That means if you can find a way to reduce the operating cost of your car by $0.05 a mile, you will have saved $1000 (for the actual amount of money you will save use the following simple formula: the number of miles you drive each year x $0.01)

    What's even better is that most people can cut that $0.05 a mile expense with very little effort on their part. Here are some suggestions that should yield a $0.05 per mile reduction in cost at a minimum, and potentially much more:

    Clean out your car by emptying your trunk and back seat. Everything that doesn't need to be in the car should find a new home outside it. Extra weight has to be pulled and means you must use more gas to get from one point to another. If you can remember that your car is not a storage locker, you will reduce your driving expenses.

    Drive to work an hour early, return home an hour later. If you are allowed flex time at work, change your commute schedule to miss the rush hour traffic by driving to work and hour early and returning home an hour early. If you aren't, take your newspaper to work to read in the morning and a book to read after. Stop and go traffic wastes much more gas than driving at a constant speed. You'll most likely find that an hour change on both ends will actually give you more time since you'll spend less time in the car during the commute.

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    Shop around for a lower price on gas, but don't go miles out of your way to get the best price. When traveling a long distance to save a few pennies, you end up spending more on car driving expenses (AAA estimates that it costs 51.7 cents a mile to drive a car in 2003 while the IRS allows a deduction of 36 cents a mile) than you end up saving with the lower gas price.

    You can find the least expensive gas in your local area by visiting a site like <A HREF=""></A> which will let you find the lowest gas price in your area. Remember that gas prices can be significantly different within a few blocks of each other.

    Take the time to religiously check your car's tire pressure each month (it is worthwhile to invest in a good-quality dial-type tire pressure gauge for yourself -- pencil-style gauges and the ones mounted on the air hose at gas stations are unreliable according to federal surveys). Under inflated tires reduce fuel efficiency by 2% for every pound they are under inflated. Under inflation also causes premature tire wear giving your tires a shorter use life.

    Be sure to use your owner's manual for the correct tire pressure. The pressure printed on the sidewall of the tire indicates how much the tire will safely hold and should not be used since it has no connection to how much air should be in the tire for routine use.

    Make sure that your car is tuned and oil changed as recommended in your car manual. It is a mistake to think that you can save money by delaying these regular car maintenance. Although you will have to pay out some money (which gives the false impression that you aren't saving money) to have these done, you will more than earn it back.

    Skip the higher octane gas since it is a waste of money. Regular unleaded (approx. 87 octane or so) is the least expensive gasoline and what you should purchase. It's important to remember that octane is a measurement of how hard it is to ignite the gas, not the quality of the gas. You should only purchase mid or high octane gas if your engine pings, knocks or rattles when using regular unleaded fuel.

    Slow down and use your cruise control. More than half of the energy needed to move your vehicle on the highway is spent overcoming pushing air out of the way which is called aerodynamic drag. The faster you drive, the more aerodynamic drag you have. Due to this, your car's the fuel economy decreases rapidly at speeds above 60 mph. This means that for every 5 mph increase in speed over 60 mph, you are paying the equivalent of an additional $0.10 per gallon for gas. Cruise control will allow you to maintain a steady pace on the highway which will increase your fuel economy.

    nice! I really love your posts, and are really educational