How Gas Prices are Affected During the Pandemic and What You Can Do About It

Man in panda mask in front of a car
Photo by Erik Mclean on Unsplash

Have you ever driven on a highway and noticed a car come flying from behind you and then speed right past you? This disrespect for the road may anger some and others might not care, but one thing is for certain. Their gas tank will hit zero faster than yours will.

This is because the faster you drive, the more gas you are using; in other words, the amount of fuel being used is proportional to the speed at which you are driving. In mechanical terms that means that, if you are driving at 50 mph, the pistons in the engine would cycle at say, 50 times per minute. (We are using hypothetical numbers to simplify this example). That means that gas is injected into the piston’s cylinder 50 times per minute.

If you speed up to 100 mph, the engine has to work harder, which means that the pistons have to cycle twice as much within that one minute and consequently, so does the amount of gas that needs to be ignited. 

The bottom line: The slower you drive, the more gas you save! 

Don’t Hit the Pedal 

Another nifty method for saving gas is by not pressing on the gas pedal when you are going downhill. Better yet, put the car in neutral. Yes, that’s right. Taking your car out of drive lowers the RPMs (revolutions per minute) which in turn causes less gas to be sent to the engine. Any doubts? Try it then look at your odometer to see how the needle goes down.

Of course, this is not a recommended solution if you are driving in a city or crowded location, but where the area is hilly or mountainous, this method works great!

One person reported that he went to upstate NY and each time he went downhill he geared the car to neutral. His calculations showed he was averaging 45 MPG per 100 miles.

Here’s How You Can Calculate Your MPH

1. Let the car’s fuel tank go towards (but not all) empty.
2. Then fill up with the desired amount.
3. Once the car’s gas tank reaches where it was before, divide the range (in miles) by the amount you paid and that is your MPH.

Example: Using the Upstate NY scenario. The man let the car reach close to empty, then bought 3 gallons in Tioga NY. (Price doesn’t matter in these calculations). As he proceeded down the highway, his car was reaching empty when he reached Parsippany NJ. About a 63 mile stretch.  

Car Sizes vs. Gas Used

Why are you driving that SUV? Do you really need it? Do you have any idea how much more gas you are using when compared to driving a sedan? Try this gas calculator to find out! You will be surprised what the difference is.

But if you find an SUV to be the most practical vehicle for your purposes, shop around. There are differences in gas mileage between them. Also, you want to consider a hybrid one.

Going Electric! 

<span>Photo by <a href="">Olav Tvedt</a> on <a href="">Unsplash</a></span>Of course, there are electric cars. Right now, Tesla has the market lead, but more and more vehicle manufactures are jumping on the bandwagon, so one day, maybe sooner than later, expect to find gas pumps in the fields of antiquity.  Currently, there are electric charging stations in various designated areas around the country, but more are being added every day.

If you are a homeowner, you have the added advantage of charging your car overnight, but you need to have your voltage upgraded, usually in your garage. An added benefit is with the added power, it is a help when selling your house; albeit, it won’t change your selling price much, but it is still one more incentive for someone to purchase yours over other people’s homes.

Follow the Standard Rules

Pumping Gas
Photo by Vlad Tchompalov on Unsplash

Don’t let your car idle. If you are waiting for someone and you know that it will be more than a minute when they will arrive, shut the car off. Also, some of the newer conventional vehicles are designed to shut off when waiting at red lights.

If you don’t have one of these cars, you can, at your option, shut your car off when waiting at a light, but do it for lights that you know are stay red for a longer time than the normal time period. 

The Current Status on Gas Prices

The answer to how things are now and how gas prices will be in the future remains to be seen. Just last week, President Biden closed the pipeline. Some say that this was a terrible thing to do because it will have a negative effect on the economy, while others say it is a great thing to do because it helps the environment.

Well, we are not here to discuss the politics of it, but we are here to discuss the facts and the consequences of these facts, whether good or bad and the fact is that gas prices have risen since the closing of the pipeline.  

How the current administration is going to resolve this remains to be seen. Maybe the president will have a new plan for the US economy, but for now, we have to be more vigilant in finding ways to save money on gas. What we have mentioned should be a good start!