NJ Senior Money Management

Here are some things to consider to help New Jersey seniors reduce the cost of gas.  Also, remember to ask your mechanic if they have a senior discount.

Maintenance:

  • Keep your car properly tuned up to improve gas mileage by about 4 percent.
  • Improve mileage by up to 40 percent by replacing a faulty oxygen sensor.
  • Keep tires properly inflated to improve your gas mileage by more than 3 percent – which will also extend the life and ensure the safety of your tires.
  • Use the manufacturer’s recommended grade of motor oil to improve your gas mileage by another 1-2 percent.  Select motor oil with “Energy Conserving” on the API performance symbol to be sure it contains friction-reducing additives.
  • Check and replace air filters regularly.  Replacing a clogged or dirty air filter can improve your car’s gas mileage by as much as 10 percent, and a clean filter keeps impurities from damaging the inside of your engine.
  • Purchase less expensive regular unleaded gas if your vehicle does not require premium or midgrade fuel. Check your vehicle owner’s manual.
  • Shop for low gasoline prices locally, but don’t waste gas driving to a distant filling station to save a few cents.
  • Don’t race a cold engine to warm it up and avoid extended idling to warm up the engine.
  • Spark plugs must be in good condition. Some will last for 100,000 miles, but many need to be replaced more often.

Driving

  • Curtail aggressive driving.  Speeding, rapid acceleration, and rapid braking all waste gas – and curb mileage by as much as 33 percent at highway speeds, according to the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE).  Use slow acceleration from a dead stop.
  • In addition, speeding cuts fuel economy 7 to 23 percent, as gas mileage decreases rapidly above 60 mph. Each five mph you drive over 60 is like paying an extra 15 cents per gallon.
  • Avoid idling, which gets 0 mph.  Cars with larger engines typically waste even more gas at idling than cars with smaller engines.
  • Combine your errands into one trip and plan your routes carefully to drive fewer miles and use less fuel.
  • Use overdrive if available. Use your vehicle’s overdrive gear when appropriate to reduce engine speed, save gas, and decrease engine wear.
  • Use cruise control to help cut fuel consumption by maintaining a steady speed during highway driving.
  • Don’t use air conditioning, if it is not really needed. Maybe just the blower will keep you cool. Air conditioning dramatically reduces fuel economy. Most air conditioners have an “economy” setting that allows the circulation of unchilled air – just a fan, which does not affect fuel economy. Many also have a “maximum” or “recirculation” setting that reduces the amount of hot outside air that must be chilled. Both settings can reduce the air conditioning load — and save gas. Fan speed does not affect fuel economy.

Posted by: Frank Esposito, Vice President of Expert Home Care.  New Jersey’s Expert Home Care provides professional and reliable home health care and companion care for NJ elderly, helping them with their daily living activities since 1984. Please call us toll free at 800-848-2336 when you have home care related questions or need assistance for a loved one. Get a Free Home Care Assessment (a $375 value!) when you mention this post.

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