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10 Ways to Cut Fuel Costs

Part 2: More Things You Can Do to Save Money on Gas

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Page one of this article offered relatively inexpensive ways that businesses (and individuals) can save money on gas. If you’re serious about cutting fuel costs, though, maybe it’s time to get rid of the gas-guzzler – or at least convert it to use alternative fuels or energy sources. The suggestions for how to save money on gas on this page require more of an investment but may also have a bigger pay-off in reduced fuel costs.

7. Trade in your vehicle(s) for vehicles with better fuel economy.

Some businesses have to have trucks. But does yours? You know the drill; generally cars have better gas mileage than trucks/vans/SUVs and smaller cars have even better gas mileage. If you’re serious about cutting your fuel costs, it may be time to “downsize” your vehicles. Natural Resources Canada has Fuel Consumption Guides and a list of the most fuel efficient vehicles sold in Canada.

8. If you haven’t, join your Chamber of Commerce.

Many Chambers offer fuel cost savings as benefits to their members. For instance, members of the BC Chamber of Commerce can receive a 3.5 percent discount on fuel, oil, top-up fluids and car wash for each Canadian purchase at any Esso service station (with a minimum purchase of $1500 a year or 3000 litres a year), and fuel discounts at Shell and PetroCanada are also available. Chambers of Commerce also offer many other benefits. It's definitely worth a call to see what benefits your local Chamber offers.

9. Look for the “E-10 blend” of gas.

“E-10 Blend” is a fuel blend of gasoline and up to 10 percent ethanol that can be used in virtually any gasoline-powered vehicle manufactured after 1980. In other words, if you can find it, you can use it without any modification to your vehicle, saving money on gas in the process.

There are also flexible fuel vehicles available, that run on gasoline or on blends of up to 85 percent ethanol and 15 percent gasoline. Because of the high alcohol content of E-85, vehicles have to be especially modified to handle the fuel blend. However, there are many E-85 vehicle models available, such as the Chevrolet Avalanche, Suburban, Tahoe and some pickup trucks, and the Ford Explorer and Taurus.

As ethanol is not sold everywhere, this way of saving money on gas isn't available to everyone.

10. Get vehicles that aren't gas-powered.

By selling your gas-powered vehicles and buying vehicles that run on other fuels or types of energy, or converting your current vehicle to use another form of energy, you can save considerably on fuel costs – and avoid being held hostage by high gas costs in the future.

One solution is a hybrid car, a vehicle that combines a fuel-efficient gas engine with an electric motor that assists the engine when accelerating. The electric motor is powered by batteries that recharge automatically while you drive. The Honda Civic Hybrid, Honda Insight, Honda Accord, Toyota Prius, Ford Escape SUV and the Lexus 400h SUV are all examples of hybrid cars now available.

Companies such as Azure Dynamics, a developer of hybrid electric and electric powertrains for commercial and military vehicles, offer hybrids ranging from the commercial light duty class (5,000 - 8,500 lbs gross vehicle weight) through a Parallel Hybrid Powertrain designed for use in vehicles weighing 18,000 - 33,000 lbs gross vehicle weight. You can find out more about hybrid cars at About’s Hybrid Cars site.

Propane is a fairly common alternative vehicle fuel. Natural Resources Canada says that propane can be about 25 to 30 percent cheaper than gasoline, depending on your local cost for propane. And propane is easy to find; almost all gas stations also sell propane. While you can buy vehicles directly from the manufacturer that designed to run on propane, you can also convert a conventional gas-powered vehicle to run on propane, starting at about $4000 – and conventional gas-powered vehicles can be converted to run on propane alone or both gas and propane.

Vehicles that run on natural gas are also available. A gas-powered vehicle can be converted to run on natural gas for about $8000.

You don’t have to let high fuel costs eat into your profits. Saving money on gas is possible as long as you’re willing to pay attention to what you’re driving and how you’re driving it and willing to make a commitment to cutting your fuel costs.

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