More Drivers Thinking Outside the Pump

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With gas prices on the rise, many are getting creative to save gas this summer.

In northern Kentucky, several students are saving money on gas by riding their horses to school!

The students are all members of Future Farmers of America and have permission to feed and water their horses in front of the school's agricuture buidling. For one student the ride was 45- minutes long.

"I'm sick and tired of always being at the gas station and not having enough money to get gas...so we needed a solution to get to school," a Conner High School student said.

And in California, a public relations agency is saving money by turning casual Friday into "virtual Friday." Instead of dressing down, you don't even have to show up. You do all your work, phone calls and meetings from the comfort of your own home, all to save employees money on gas.

"Gas prices [are] crazy," Liz Estes-Cooper of JHG-Townsend said. "Our employees are feeling the pinch. We can do this. The technology has evolved enough."

In Virginia Beach, people are going crazy over the new Smart Car. The two-seater is only 8'11 long and 5'1 wide. But it gets about 41 miles per gallon on the highway and 33 in the city. That fact alone has people willing to give up size for economy.

"The response has been phenomenal," Smar Car seller Gary Gullickson said. "Actually, every car we get has already been pre-sold on-line."

He added that ,"The Smart Car is the best gas mileage car sold in America that is not a hybrid" and that it's "so much roomier than you would expect."

But what about safety?

"The car is built around what they call a 'trillion safety cell' that's sort of like a roll cage in a race car," Gullickson said. "The Highway Institute just did the crash ratings of the car (and) it came out excellent. So it's a very safe car."

The Mercedes-Benz designed car was unveiled about 10 years ago in Europe where it was a big hit. The Smart Car arrived in the U.S. in January. Model prices range from $11,590 to $16,590.

As for other fuel saving tips - AAA recommends:

  • Using air conditioning only when needed - air conditioning is a big fuel guzzler.
  • Don't race a cold engine to warm it up - it's better to start driving right away.
  • Remove snow tires during good weather seasons traveling on deep tire tread really robs fuel.
  • Change your oil when you tune-up your car and make sure to use the right oil for your engine.

Keeping your tires inflated at the proper pressure can also save you money and make your drive safer. And make sure your wheels are properly aligned to prevent drag and shortened tire life.

You may also want to change some of your driving habits:

  • Consolidate trips and errands
  • Slow down! The faster a vehicle travels, the more gas it burns. Driving faster than posted speed limits is also dangerous and increases stress.
  • Lighten the load - don't haul extra weight in the passenger seat, trunk or cargo area. A heavier vehicle uses more gasoline.
  • Shop for low gas prices, but don't waste gas driving to a distant filling station to save a few cents.
  • Keep the windows closed when traveling at highway speeds. Open windows cause air drab.

If you can, why not carpool - or even ride your bike to work to save money.

Maybe if gas prices get too high, we'll take a lesson from the Kentucky kids, and trade our cars for real horse power.

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