One question I’ve always pondered in the almost two years that I've lived here--- if oil is our booming industry here in North Dakota, and we have a refinery in Mandan---then why on God's Green Earth is gas so expensive???  We're 30-40 cents higher than Fargo, about 40-50 cents higher per gallon than Billings.  It makes no sense.  IF we refine the gas here---why ship it off to Fargo, only to ship it back to Bismarck-Mandan and we get some of the highest prices.   It's been stuck at $3.59 for awhile, but that is still way too high in my humble opinion.    It’s getting to be summer driving season, and I have a few road trips planned this summer, so here are some tips I found to help increase your fuel economy so you can spend more on summer fun instead of gasoline!!

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1)     Drive Sensibly – Potential Fuel Savings - $0.18 - $1.21 / gallon

I’ve seen some crazy driving behavior here in Bismarck, and I just shake my head and wonder what people are thinking and why they want to spend more money on fuel.  Aggressive driving such as speeding, rapid acceleration and braking wastes gas and can lower your gas mileage by 33% on the highway and 5% in town.  Newer cars come with displays that show you your fuel economy as you drive; one study shows that the feedback helps the average driver improve his/her fuel economy by about 3%. It’s also a no-brainer that driving safely can save lives, so please do not drive aggressively!

 

2)    Obey Speed Limits – Potential Fuel Savings - $0.26 - $0.52/gallon

Although every vehicle reaches its optimal fuel economy at a different speed or range of speeds, gas mileage usually deceases at speeds above 50 mph. A study has shown that each 5 mph you go over 50 is like paying an additional $0.24 per gallon for gas. 

3)    Don’t Haul Cargo on Your Roof -  Potential Fuel Savings $0.07-$0.63/gallon

 Although it can look cool and outdoors-y to haul cargo attached to the roof racks of your vehicle, hauling cargo here increases aerodynamic drag (wind resistance) and will lower your fuel economy.  Large, blunt, roof-top cargo boxes can reduce your fuel economy about 2%-8% in the city, 6%-17% on highways, and 10%-25% at interstate speeds!  If you must haul cargo outside your vehicle, rear-mount ones are the way to go; they reduce fuel economy by less than 5% even on the highways.

 

4)    Remove Extra Weight – Potential Fuel Savings - $0.04 - $0.07/gallon

Don’t keep unnecessary items in your vehicle, especially heavy ones.  An extra 100 pounds in your vehicle can reduce your MPG by 2%.  The reduction is based on the percentage of extra weight relative to the vehicle's weight and affects smaller vehicles more than larger ones.

 

 

5)    Avoid Unnecessary Idling – Potential Fuel Savings (with A/C on) – $0.02-$0.04/minute

 

Idling can use a quarter to a half gallon of gas per hour, depending on engine size and air conditioner use. Turn off your engine when your vehicle is parked. It only takes a few seconds worth of fuel to restart your vehicle. Use common sense, though; turning your engine on and off excessively, however, can wear down your starter.

 

6)    Use Cruise Control

Using cruise control on the highway helps you maintain a constant speed and, in most cases, will save gas.

7)    Use Overdrive Gears

 

When you use overdrive gears, your car's engine speed goes down. This saves gas and reduces engine wear.

Source: Fueleconomy.gov