Gasoline prices are rising fast and will probably peak in the summer as usual. The national average price for gasoline is currently $3.85 per gallon and it is only March. Gas prices can have a big impact on retirees who have fixed incomes. Here are five ways to mitigate the rising gasoline price:
Reduce your vehicle count. If you or your spouse is retired, consider reducing the number of vehicles you own. A retired couple can save by sharing one car with careful scheduling. This might take a lot of work up front to make sure each person can have access to the car when they need it, but the payoff is huge. You save on gasoline and other automobile related expenses such as auto insurance, maintenance, repairs, and vehicle registration.
Group trips. Another way to reduce the mileage on your vehicle is to group trips together. If you need to drive to the grocery store, try to group it with other errands in the same vicinity. This will reduce your total miles and increase the engine efficiency. By driving to multiple destinations, the engine will be already warmed up and will burn less fuel.
Regular maintenance. Now that you have more time on your hands, you don’t have any excuse to put off maintaining your vehicle. Keeping your tires properly inflated will optimize your car’s miles per gallon. Check the driver’s door plaque for the proper tire pressure and fill your wheels accordingly. A few pounds per square inch (PSI) can make a big difference in your vehicle’s gasoline consumption.
Alternative transportation. Perhaps it’s time to consider other forms of transportation. Riding a bike is great exercise and doesn’t cost you any gas money. You can also consider public transportation if it's available. If that’s not an option, how about a scooter? If you live in a sunny locale, a scooter is a great option for short local trips. You can get near 100 miles per gallon with the right scooter. If you live near relatives, try calling your kids or grandchildren and ask them to give you a ride.
Travel during the off season. For many people, summer means road trips. But it also means peak gasoline pricing. If you can travel in the spring or fall instead, you can save on gasoline as well as hotels. Gasoline prices usually take a big dive in September, after school starts. Many popular vacation destinations are very nice in September and October.
High gas prices can be especially devastating when you are on a fixed income. Reducing your gasoline use in retirement can help reduce the impact of rising gasoline prices on your fixed income.
Joe Udo is planning an exit strategy from his corporate job by reducing expenses and increasing passive income. He blogs about his journey to early retirement at Retire by 40.