Skyrocketing gas prices call for innovative measures.
We recently asked readers, via our newsletters, what they were doing to take the sting out of growing fuel expenses.
While many are spending less time on the road, a number have found a solution in combining trips -- running errands on the way to or from work, trimming unneeded trips from their schedules and carpooling.
Can this really help you save gas? Yes, readers responded -- especially if you think carefully about each car journey you make. Do you go to church? Make a mental list of businesses near your place of worship, and when you need something from one of them, wait until Sunday. Ditto goes for your local library and gym.
Read on for real-life tips from our readers on consolidating trips and the gas it can save.
Tips from readers
I'm not driving as much as I used to. I pumped $20 worth of gasoline into my car and I refused to give them another penny. For my car, that's five gallons. I average 25 miles per gallon, so I can go for 125 miles before I need more. However, I live in a rural area and the nearest convenience store is three miles away and the nearest grocery is six. My mailbox is also three miles away. When I make a trip out and forget to buy something, I do without it.
I also try to consolidate all of my errands. Today, went to get my hair done, mail a letter, go to the bank and then a Super Wal-Mart, where I can get everything I need. All of these places are within 15 miles of my house. Actually, in the Super Wal-Mart I could have done all of this, including cashing the check I took to the bank. I went to my mailbox on the way home. This evening I'll be carpooling with friends to go out.
-- Barbara Z.
I now spend more time considering and planning how to accomplish more stops while on my way to, or on return from, water aerobics, to stop for groceries or other needs. I now consider walking to church, whenever possible. I have established some "definitely no spending days" and they have been increasing.
-- Stephanie R.
We are reducing our errands in and out of the house by doing them all in a full circle on one trip. We're also carpooling for trips instead of meeting friends at a destination.
There are some things I will not do. I love my Toyota Avalon and will not trade it in. I will not give up afternoons at the corner coffee shop. But, I've adapted to higher gasoline by combining chores and shopping into fewer trips per week. I've actually lowered a 150-mile-per-week average down to about 75 miles per week, which is costing me about 20 cents per mile at $4 per gallon.
-- Chris D.
The price of fuel certainly has had an impact on my driving habits. I now find myself combining trips more, ruling out all but necessary errands, combining trips to stores, post offices, etc.
-- Nancy D.
I consolidate trips and compute a monthly and yearly fuel cost budget and plan trips accordingly.
-- Terry L.
I found a person who has an even longer commute and, after a little negotiating on terms, started carpooling.
I found at a little over $3 per gallon, I saved realistically (including break days where we still drive alone) about $100 per month. Now that gas is over $4, that's obviously a lot more. It also saves wear and tear on my vehicle. Given my 40-plus-mile commute, it breaks up the day and provides some pleasant conversation in the rush-hour traffic. The keys to keeping it going are being flexible and realistic (vs. strict and dogmatic) about times and terms. It definitely pays a dividend, and we could even afford to add a member to help ease the burden all the more.
-- Charles O.
Compiled by Rose Raymond.