Posts Tagged ‘gas prices’

Skyrocketing Gas Prices Change Car Buying Behavior

Fuel Costs Effect On Car Buying DecisionIf our ever-so-scientific poll on the sidebar means anything, then it looks like the rising gas prices are reaching the point where consumers are changing their habits to adapt. When gas prices in Calgary hit $1.00 per liter, people were still happily buying whatever car they wanted and continued to do road trips. Now, as we hit the $1.30 per liter mark, over half of the poll respondents said that gas prices are affecting their car buying decisions.

Perhaps instead of a full size SUV, smaller versions are being sought after–like RAV4s, CRVs, and the upcoming Tiguan from VW. Truck sales in May fell by more than 30% in Canada, a sign that our poll falls in line with the national trend. GM has also announced that four of its plants which produces large trucks and SUVs for the automaker will be shutdown.

Its not clear whether Canada’s efforts to increase the production of biofuel will have any effect on gas prices, but one thing is for certain and that is that we need to as a nation and continent reduce our dependence on oil by looking at alternative energy sources. The only good news are those that still plan on buying a truck or SUV (43% of you did say gas prices have no effect on your purchase decision).

If you’re in the market for a used truck, SUV, or other gas guzzling vehicle you may want to hold up and wait for prices to fall further as more and more people try to unload them. Check out our used trucks marketplace for the latest deals.

US Votes to Sue OPEC Over Oil Prices

The war to liberate the Iraqi people has not brought cheaper oil to US shores so what is a nation that is starving for oil to do? It comes as no surprise that the litigation happy Americans are going to the courts to wage their battle. The U.S. House of Representatives approved legislation on Tuesday allowing the Justice Department to sue OPEC members for limiting oil supplies and working to set crude prices.

The bill would subject OPEC oil producers, including Saudi Arabia, Iran and Venezuela, to the same antitrust laws that U.S. companies must follow. The legislation also creates a Justice Department task force to aggressively investigate gasoline price gouging and energy market manipulation.

For all you gas guzzlers out there, don’t worry–your government is doing everything it can to ensure that supply of gas reaches your vehicle so you can continue to trek around in your SUVs! Perhaps driving schools across the US should teach their students how to get better mileage by hypermiling.

The only good shred of news out of this is that the White house has threatened to veto this move.

Combat High Fuel Prices With Hypermiling

Fuel prices have soared to record levels, with announcements every week telling us that they will continue to climb. Local prices here have hit about CAD $1.24/L which works out to about US $4.60/Gallon at today’s exchange rate.

If you think the only way to shield yourself from soaring gas prices is to go out and by a hybrid vehicle, Wayne Gerdes would love to prove you wrong. You see, Gerdes routinely gets over 30mpg on his wife’s SUV, an Acura MDX. On his own Honda Accord, he can easily get about 60 mpg.

Gerdes accomplishes this by driving while being super attentive to fuel efficiency, a completely obsessive driving technique he calls hypermiling. He’ll never floor the gas pedal to accelerate, in fact he barely touches it when accelerating. Other tips include inflating the tires to maximum pressure listed on the tire itself, using a lower weight engine oil, driving outside of the grooves on busy roads, coasting in neutral down hills, avoid use of the brake during turns and tailgating large semis on highway to cut down on wind resistance. Extreme? Definitely. Effective? Yup!

The most helpful tool for a hypermiler like Gerdes is a fuel consumption display (FCD). Many new cars come equipped with one that displays a real time fuel consumption figure. Step on the gas and it’ll start to climb, or coast down a hill and watch it drop. If people could see how much fuel they guzzled while driving, Wayne believes they’d quickly learn to drive more efficiently.

“If the epa would mandate FCDs in every car, this country would save 20 percent on fuel overnight,” he says. “They’re not expensive for the manufacturers to put in—10 to 20 bucks—and it would save more fuel than all the laws passed in the last 25 years. All from a simple display.”

I would test this out to see how far a tank of gas can take me, but I really don’t have the patience to try for that long. Have you tried it? Share your results in the comments or discuss in our forums!

Go Green, Go Safe

Ouch! Between my trip to work this morning and arriving back at home for dinner gas prices rose by six cents a litre. There are many strategies that you can employ to minimize the hard earned cash that you spend on fuel costs. Who knew that following them might have the additional benefit of contributing to traffic safety?

Driving at a steady speed as opposed to accelerating hard on the green and braking just as hard for the next red can save fuel and minimize wear and tear on your drive train and brakes. Keeping with the flow of traffic rather than dodging from lane to lane to get ahead is not only economical but predictable for other drivers. Predictablility will reduce the chance of a crash.

Having said that, I am sure that I will hear from the go with the flow crowd. They’ve been telling me this for years in an attempt to justify travelling faster than the speed limit. Well, increasing speed from 100 km/h to 120 costs you 20% more fuel. Reducing your speed from 100 km/h to 90 can save you 10%. I will be sticking to the speed limit for more reasons than just because it’s the law now.

Aggressive city driving might save you 4% on the clock, but it can cost you up to 37% at the pump and produce five times the threat to your lungs through increased emissions. Males increase the possibility of a crash by half again and females may triple the risk by driving aggressively. Instead of concentrating on getting there first, think how aggressive behaviour can turn a 117.9 cent litre into the equivalent of a 161.5 cent litre and put you and others at risk.

The bottom line? Think green, drive defensively, save money and save lives. Simple!

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