Alaska Railroad

Tips for Saving Gas on your Next Road Trip

by Lauren Braden on May 12, 2008

in Trip Ideas

tipstosavegasJust when you thought gas prices wouldn’t go any higher, they have. I filled up our 1987 Volvo wagon yesterday for the first time in weeks and the gas was $3.84 per gallon. Ouch.

As a city dweller I’m fortunate to have access to great bus service, and use it every day for my commute. But I do love to travel around the Northwest, and I can’t take a bus to a trailhead (not many, anyway), or bike to the Methow Valley, or take a train to the John Day Fossil Beds. Also, as much as I’d adore a shiny new Prius (light blue, please), I can’t afford it. Yeah, my Volvo gets only 25 miles to the gallon on the highway, but it cost me only $1200!

My husband and I already decided to cut down on our air travel to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions. With gas at nearly $4 a gallon, are we to quit traveling locally, too?

We already know that reducing oil consumption is a good move for our climate. With skyrocketing gas prices, we now have another incentive!

I hope you’ll be enjoying some Northwest travel this summer, in spite of high gas prices. Here are some tips for guzzling less gas on those Northwest journeys. They’ll help you pump a little less carbon into the atmosphere, and keep a little more cash in your pocket.

    • Tend to your tires. We’ve all heard this one before, but evidently very few of us have actually done it. Keep your tires properly inflated and improve your mileage by 3 percent, for a savings of 20 gallons of gas a year ($80 at current prices).
    • Don’t put the pedal to the metal. The faster you accelerate, the more gas you use. Cut out the fast starts and rapid braking at highway speeds, and save as much as 80 gallons a year.
    • Yeah, you can drive 55. Actually, 55 miles per hour is the optimum speed for most cars when it comes to getting the best gas mileage, so take the scenic road and slow down.
    • Carpool. Yes, on your vacation. If you’re taking a weekend getaway, ask some friends or another couple to come along. Not only will you save on gas money (when you split it, of course) you could save on lodging, too. (Get a cabin or suite that sleeps more people.)
    • Travel light. You’ll get better mileage if you carry less weight, so clean out your trunk of stuff you don’t need to take with you before you hit the road.
    • Try the train this summer. From Seattle you can get to Portland, Hood River, Eugene, Spokane, Leavenworth, Wenatchee, Bellingham, and Vancouver BC by taking Amtrak!

How do you save gas money when traveling?

photo: road trip by dalio

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Marilyn June 5, 2013 at 7:06 pm

Use windows down instead of Ac uses lesser gas.

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