Gasoline prices rising to a $1.37 a gallon average have had a large impact on motorists' monthly fuel bills.
A recent Wall Street Journal report listed estimated annual fuel costs of several automobiles with pump prices at $1.37 a gallon. Dividing those totals by 12, gasoline costs the owner of a Toyota Corolla $61 a month; Honda Accord, $71; Ford Taurus, $74.50; Dodge Caravan, $81; Lexus LS 400, $99; and Ford Explorer, $100.50.On average, an automobile guzzles 507 gallons a year to travel 10,100 miles, the American Automobile Association said. And we rack up more than half of those miles running errands and traveling to and from work.
In its new Gas Watcher's Guide, AAA offers numerous tips to cut fuel use and save money. "All it takes is a little planning to trim fuel use by 20 percent or more," said AAA senior vice president J. Kay Aldous.
To cut down on personal and family errands, AAA suggests:
- Combine shopping trips and appointments. Take care of banking, grocery shopping and other chores at the same location. Arrange dental or medical appointments for more than one family member at the same time. Share shopping trips with neighbors.
- Comparison shop by phone or through newspaper advertising. Use a shopping list to avoid numerous trips to the store.
- Schedule errands during non-rush hours to avoid fuel consuming stop-and-go traffic.
- Arrange car pools to transport children to and from activities.
AAA said the most obvious place to cut fuel consumption is travel to and from work. And some alternatives to taking your own car are:
- Car pools with individuals working at or near the same location.
- Van pools provided by employers. Riders pay a monthly fee - usually less than what they would pay for gasoline and parking - for the service.
- Public transportation may be the least expensive and most fuel-efficient way to commute, AAA said. If it's not available, residents may want to arrange a charter bus service for commuters.
How a car is driven and cared for also affects fuel consumption, AAA said.
Percentage of total gasoline consumption
Family errands: 30.4%
To and from work: 30.1%
Social and recreational: 16.7%
Business related to work: 4.2%
Educational, civic and religious activities: 4.1%
Source: American Automobile Association and U.S. Department of Transportation.