Wednesday, May 14, 2008

What You Can Do About Gas Prices

As a Libertarian, I cheerfully point out that the federal government is the world's largest consumer of fuel, and that it would use less gas if only it reduced it size and scope. But aside from being used by politicians like me to further our own agendas, high gas prices also encourage people to reduce their own personal consumption. By exercising some personal responsibility, you can do more to reduce what you spend on gas than the government is able or willing to do about gas prices.

Should you give up driving to work? As long as the time you save by driving is worth more than the gas you burn, then it makes perfect economic sense to drive instead of walking, biking, or riding the bus. But you could consider using your time productively while riding the bus by doing work on your laptop. You might also consider canceling your gym membership and ride your bike for free.

Maintain your car better. Change your oil every 3000 miles. Change the air filter whenever it looks dirty. Keep your tires inflated. Clean out all that crap that you've been storing in the trunk or the back seat. Unecesary items in a car reduced fuel milage.

Should you get another car? If the amount you expect to save on gas is greater than the expected depreciation of the car's value, than it would make sense to buy that car. But if you are going to sell that hybrid in 5 years as soon as the fad is over, you might end up selling that car for $10,000 less than what you paid for it while only saving $2000 on gas.

1 comment:

Code Blue Schools said...

When I worked for Exxon we made more money selling twinkies and cokes in the convenience store than we did on gasoline. Now that we're finally making a little money on crude you guys want to cut consumption. Come on, keep filling up those Suburbans!