How to save money on your commute

CommutingMy current job – which I have been doing for almost a year now – makes that for the first time in my life, I have to commute by car. In my previous jobs I was indeed commuting by using public transportation or simply walking.

This current situation is quite embarrassing as I have been dedicated to help protect our civilization from climate change and environmental perils. This is also a financial issue as I spend over 100-120€ on gas each month.

So after reading an article from the French ADEME, I decided to cut my speed on my way back home by 10 kmph, saving fifty euro cents per day, or around ten euros per month.

Sure, this isn’t as good as not driving at all, but I believe that combined with some basic eco-driving tips it really can make a difference on my carbon emissions and my budget.

Here are a selection of the best eco driving tips taken from Ecomodder :

Track your fuel consumption

One of the first steps in improving efficiency is tracking fuel consumption.

Get in the habit of saving all your fuel receipts, recording distance travelled and fuel economy (MPG). Keep a small notebook to record trip type and new techniques employed to monitor your progress.

While the slower pace of tank-to-tank feedback isn’t ideal for feedback on driving technique, recording and montoring your “big picture” progress is great motivation.

See the Ecomodder Blog for more information on tracking fuel consumption.

Minimize idling when stopped

If you’re going to be stopped for more than a few seconds, shift to neutral and shut off your engine. This is one of the main reasons hybrid vehicles get such good fuel economy in urban driving.

Caveat 1: this assumes your vehicle is in good tune and will re-start immediately, every time.

Caveat 2: if you’re a defensive driver, you’re habitually evaluating the risk of a rear crash when slowing and when stopped. Obviously you will want to leave your engine on in those circumstances (for a quick rear crash avoidance manoeuver).

“Drive without brakes” (DWB)

Minimize use of the brake pedal. Each time you press it, you’re effectively converting gasoline into brake dust and heat.

Driving as if you have no brakes will cause you to do two things: 1) reduces ‘excessive’ acceleration, and, 2) extends the amount of time you spend coasting down to stops and turns.

Obviously you have to balance use of this technique against traffic conditions so as not to adversely affect other drivers.

See the Ecomodder Blog for more information on DWB.

Make fuel economy a game/challenge

Competing against yourself (or others) to get the best possible fuel economy can do wonders for increasing motivation to learn more, refine your skills, and try harder.

Several web sites like permit you to track and compare your fuel economy against other drivers, and some organize informal fuel economy challenges.

Hybrid festivals (e.g., periodically run fuel efficiency rallies where you can hone your skills in competition with others in real time.

Of course, if you REALLY want to save money on your commute you can (no, should) carpool and / carshare…

If you don’t leave that far from your job – lucky you – walk or bike to work. Instead of being your worst moment of the day, your commute will be one of the bests !

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