Sunday, October 26, 2008

Meet Halfway and You Both Save Gas.

I am always on the search for gas saving tools you can use. My goal is to reduce on the miles you drive and ultimately save on your gas expense.

Want to have extra money for that glass of wine or appetizer the next time you meet your friends for lunch or dinner. How about finding a vacation destination between long distance friends. Save gas and meet halfway between both of your locations. This way you each are only going half the distance.

So how would you find this half way point? Well, you can look on a map or Google the directions and estimate a half waypoint. This would take some time and estimation on your part. Then you need to find the restaurant or hotels within that location.

There are websites that can help make this process a little easier:

One site is: http://www.happymedian.com/ It is an established site since 2005 and allows a user to enter two to four towns representing each person wishing to meet, via zip code or a city and state combination. This information allows HappyMedian to find a location halfway between both places. They then provide the user with a list of various types of places to meet, from restaurants and bars to coffee shops and lodging.

http://www.meetways.com/ looks to help people easily find a halfway point between two locations. It allows you to search for restaurants, coffee shops, movie theatres, parks, hotels, virtually anything that you may be interested in the halfway location. That way you did not need to spend extra time and money driving out of your way for your next meeting. Meetways is available for multiple countries.

One other web site is: http://www.meethalfway.com/ Aside from local connections, this one also looks to attract vacation goers who would like to meet half way for a vacation destination. One problem with this site is that it is geared for the UK only. The site for the US is still under construction.

No matter which site you use, you are helping yourself save money by driving less. Good for you and good for the environment.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Basic Engine Maintenance: The Oil Change Part 2.

What is the real cost of an OIL change?

As you can see be my previous post you can spend anywhere from $19.99 to $63.00 on a full service oil change. The advantage here is that you do not get dirty and the oil is disposed of for you. When you do it yourself you still have to collect the oil and drop it off at any garage.

Of course doing the job yourself still saves you money. Especially if follow the recommended every 3000 miles rule.

I went out to a discount store and priced out the cost of doing the oil change yourself. Here is what I came up with:
5 individual quarts of the cheap oil @ $2.77 per Qt totals $13.85.
Or you can buy a 5 quart container of the cheap stuff for $10.50.
Then the cheapest filter I found is $3.48. Now the oil filter is a FRAM ExtraGuard. This, in my opinion, is not a bottom of the barrel filter. I could not find any generic filters at that store.
This brings the grand total to $13.98 to do the oil change yourself. Not bad at all. If done every 3000 miles or every 3 months it would cost you only $55.92 (before tax) per year to change the oil in your vehicle by doing it yourself.

When I change my oil I usually get the Castrol brand. This can cost you $3.67 per quart or $16.00 for a 5 qt. container of the plain Castrol oil. I actually use their Syntec blend version at $4.27 per qt. This oil change would cost me a total of $24.83 before tax.

Now if you were to use a full synthetic brand, such as Mobil 1. You would end up paying $6.27 per qt. or $26.00 for the Mobil1 5 qt. container (if available). Your lowest total cost for the Mobil 1 oil change would be $29.48. ($34.83 if you purchased individual quarts)

Do keep in mind that these prices do vary by location and I do not recommend any particular brand. I'm sure we could get into a discussion on which brands are best, but that is better left for the comments.

Robert

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Gas Prices Are Falling! Gas Prices Are Falling!

Well don't get too excited!

Last time we did that gas prices went way up beyond $4 per gallon.

This would not be the time to pull out the gas guzzler and gulp gas to your heart's content. Au contraire my friends.

Keep doing what you are doing. Save your pennies for a rainy day. What comes down will go back up. The downturn in gas prices is merely a product of the financial troubles in the world markets. This too shall pass.

Remember, you are also starting to reduce your CO2 emissions. This is good. This should be continued. Keep riding that bus. Keep riding that bicycle. Don't stop walking. If you were about to buy a hybrid or an electric vehicle, go ahead with the transaction.

Reducing our dependence on foreign oil should be our ongoing goal not a "just because it hurts my pocket book" thing.