No matter how good your cash flow plan is, “uncontrollable” gas prices can hit you when you least expect it. Today we will go through some ways to get back at “The Mann” and maybe even by the end of this article, you will be gung ho about getting gas!
When I was young, I used to always be so fascinated by gas prices and how they would jump up and down. I always wondered… why is that? I realize that crude oil prices fluctuate and since gas is made from crude oil, then the price of gas must fluctuate also. But what is interesting, is that there are a lot of different things besides gas that are made from or with crude oil. Some of those things are plastics (which leech into our foods and the filtered water in bottled water), mineral oils (found in most lotions), petroleum (Chapstick, Carmex etc etc), gasoline… oops, I mean Vaseline, table salt (that’s why it ain’t “Sea Salt” and causes high blood pressure) and more. So I wonder why the price of gas these things don’t fluctuate hardly at all (especially when the price of crude oil soars).
Anyway, whatever the reason, it really doesn’t matter. Gas prices are something that we can’t control, but we can definitely control ourselves. So without further adieu, let’s get into some of the ways that you can save money on gas. I will this newsletter down into 3 categories (Pumping Gas, On Road and Off Road).
Fill It Up – If possible, fill your tank up all the way. Try to avoid $10 here and $10 there because with each trip you make to the gas station you are wasting gas, even if you are doing it on the way to somewhere else!
Find The Right Place – If you are traveling, try not to fill up at service stations that are visible from the main highways. Their prices tend to be higher. They know that most people who stop in won’t be in a position to compare prices and in some cases are desperate. A better thing to do would be to take a city exit and look somewhere within the city. There is normally a lot more competition there and you will, in most cases, get lower prices.
Find The Right Time – The time of day that you fill up your gas tank does make a difference. It is best to fill up your tank early in the morning or late at night (preferably in the morning). This is because the ground is cooler. Gas station’s storage tanks are below ground. Cooler ground = dense gas. Hotter ground = expanded (more vaporized) gas. You get more gas for your gas in the morning.
Also, if you see a gas truck pumping gas into the storage tanks when you stop to buy gas, don’t buy any gas. The gas is probably being stirred up as it is being pumped in and you may pick up some dirt that will eventually settle to the bottom.
Be Patient – Speaking of vapors, when you pump your gas, always make sure you use the lowest setting. The faster you pump, the more of the gas becomes vapor and goes right back into the hose. For this same reason, you will always want to fill up your tank when it is no lower than half full. The more air that is occupying the gas tank, the more room for the gas to evaporate.
Warm Up Quickly – Stay away from long warm ups. Your car, even in cold weather, doesn’t need to warm up 5-10 minutes. A couple of minutes is plenty time to get the circulation going in your car. After that you are wasting gas.
Turn Off Your Car – Keep your car off as much as possible. When you idle you get zero miles per gallon. Yes, it takes gas to turn on a car but only about 20-30 seconds worth of idling. If you are at a railroad track or waiting in line at the emissions, then you can turn your car off and save money. Another way that you can save money is to go inside restaurants rather than going through the drive throughs (where you have to idle a lot). The more you idle, especially with the A/C on, the more gas you waste.
Drive Steady – Try not to slow down and speed up. Driving at a consistent speed saves you money. If you can, use cruise control. Every time you accelerate, you use gas. Stay a safe distance behind the car in front of you while driving so that you won’t have to slow down and speed up as much. If you do have to stop (such as for a light), take off slowly. That fast acceleration will burn more gas.
Never rest your left foot on the brake. That extra pressure can cause drag that will waste gas and will wear down your brakes faster.
Stay Away From Heavy Traffic – Because of the things I just mentioned, a traffic jam is the enemy. If you are normally stuck in a traffic jam after work, then maybe you can find something to do in the area until the traffic dies down, if feasible. You won’t lose as much time as you may think (even though you may leave 30 minutes later), and you may cut 15-20 minutes off your travel time.
Use A/C Efficiently – Use your A/C when you are driving at higher speeds. Open your windows when driving at lower speeds. When you open your windows, it increases drag and lowers your fuel efficiency, but not that much at lower speeds (35-40 mph). At lower speeds your A/C will burn more fuel, but at higher speeds the drag will burn more.
Stay Cool – Always try to park in the shade. If you can’t, then park your car so the gas tank is pointing away from direct sunlight. When your car heats up, so does your gas tank. Gasoline will evaporate right out of your tank regardless of the weather. You will also need less A/C to cool off once you get back in the car, if you do this.
Keep Your Cap Tight – Keep that gas cap tight. Make sure that it has a seal in it and that it is keeping those gas vapors in while keeping the air out. Get another gas cap if the one you have doesn’t fit tightly.
Pack Light – If you have ever had a car packed full of people and luggage, then you know that it makes a big difference when trying to accelerate! The less weight you have in your car the less fuel you use. You want your car to float like a butterfly and sting like a bee. Get as much junk out of your trunk (and back seat) as possible. Only carry what you need. But… Don’t throw your kids out!
Pump It Up – Keep your tires inflated! Inflate them to the specified level. This will reduce the contact area of your tire on the road and keep friction down. You can lose up to 6% in gas mileage for every pound of under inflation, so check your tires regularly.
Use The Right Tires – If you use snow tires, take them off in the summer. Deeper treads cause more friction and cuts down on fuel efficiency.
Keep Your Car Tuned Up – A sluggish engine wastes gas. Replace your air filter when needed. You can look in your owners manual to find out how often you should do this. It’s not expensive at all and in most cases is very easy to do yourself. This saves more gas than you know.
Do you feel like your pants are going to pop open when you
have your meal? Has your habit of passing gas caused you embarrassment to your
friends and colleagues? Do you feel uncomfortable or painful after eating? All
these are the symptom of gas. People usually think that only fat people have
gas related problems but in reality we all have experienced gas in sometimes in
our life, and for many it has become everyday occurrence. Gas is the most
common digestive problem.
The recent global economic crisis made everyone aware of how tight and volatile the economy is, resulting in fluctuating prices for both commercial and residential gas and electricity prices. Texas businesses rebounding from the economic slump have vast requirements for commercial energy but unless cheap electricity is made available, these companies have no recourse but to tighten their belts and devise ways to conserve Texas electricity.
In a very competitive marketplace, energy deregulation gives businesses better control of their business electricity costs. Aside from that, there are myriad other benefits and option that their companies would get from a deregulated and competitive energy market – options that were not possible in the past due to high energy expenses and limitations set by the monopolized energy industry.
The deregulation of the Texas electricity market gave birth to the emergence of several retail electric providers all competing for subscriptions from both residential and commercial energy users in the state and in energy deregulated cities such as Houston and Dallas. Now given the power to choose, selecting from over 50 retail electricity providers can be a daunting task indeed; with businesses finding themselves at the losing end should they fail to choose the best provider for their needs. This is why businesses should work in partnership with certified electricity brokers to negotiate in their behalf the best electrical rates, payment schemes and other amenities from the various Texas electric companies.
Electricity Brokers: Your Helping Hand
Unlike electricity management at home, businesses have more complex processes and operational needs for electricity that if not managed would find them dealing with extremely high energy costs that would eventually affect their bottom line. Electricity brokers can come into the picture and help businesses find ways on how they can efficiently use Texas electricity and help them minimize their energy costs. These brokers deal and negotiate electrical rates with retail electric providers for the benefit of the business.
No matter what business or industry your company may be in, electricity brokers can provide professional services using up-to-date information of the energy market in a bid to obtain the best commercial electricity deals for the company.
Why Should You Use Electricity Brokers to Shop Texas Electricity?
Businesses may not have the resources available to have an independent study or analysis of the various retail electric providers offering commercial Texas electricity before they switch and commit to the services of one. Aside from this, companies may have to deal with all the other elements in the very complex energy market such as new regulations, changes in fees, penalties, reduction of carbon emissions, etc. Hiring an electricity broker can spare the company from all these, so that all their staff and resources can focus on only one thing – doing business.
Electricity brokers can help companies with their procurement decision, eliminate possible over payments, recover over payments, management of energy consumption, and continuous energy usage analysis. Electricity brokers can uncover and identify areas in the business processes where they can implement significant improvements. These brokers are not in any way tied up with any major retail electric provider, allowing them to give unbiased advice to businesses and help them get the best energy solutions for their companies.
The implementation of energy deregulation in several states such as Texas not only provided the people the power to select their Retail Electric Provider or the Texas electric company that services and facilitates their supply of electricity, but it also provided them the option to choose their preferred choice of electricity plans. Consumers living in areas with a deregulated electric market can select between a variable and a fixed rate plan.
The atmosphere of competition that energy deregulation has provided the Texas electricity market prompted Retail Electric Providers to come up with various payment schemes and payment rate plans that would suit the lifestyle, need or capacity of the consumer. For consumers, finding the right electricity plan that would suit their needs can be a very daunting task. Making a wrong decision would have considerable repercussions on their electricity bills and may go wary from what they have planned or preferred.
The following provides a brief overview to explain the differences and mechanisms behind fixed and variable rate payment plans. It would be wise for the consumer to check the merits of each so they could eventually make the best decision for them and their household.
What is a Fixed Electricity Plan?
The term “fixed” means something that is constant or unchanging and in terms of electricity plans, a fixed-rate plan means the rates are locked or fixed for a certain period (eg. 6 months, 12 months, 24 months, etc) as agreed upon by the consumer and the Texas electric retail provider. The agreement is bound by a contract between these two parties, and the consumers are guaranteed to pay only the same rate per KWh of electricity usage.
Consumers under this plan will get the benefit of a fixed rate even if the energy market wholesale price fluctuates. However should market prices drop below the agreed fixed rates, consumers are required to pay the guaranteed price as stipulated in their contracts. Other Retail Electric Providers offer a balanced or levelized payment scheme for their users who are not delinquent on their payments, wherein the customers can pay a levelized amount calculated from their electricity usage for a certain period such as twelve months or more.
What is a Variable Electricity Plan?
The opposite of a fixed rate plan is the variable or month-to-month payment scheme wherein the Texas electric company bills consumers based on the current conditions or pricing trends of the energy market. This could be advantageous to users should there be a lowering of energy prices in the market. However, if the fluctuations in the prices result to higher rates, the consumers have no choice but to pay their Texas electricity bills based on these fluctuations.
How to Choose between Variable and Fixed Electricity Plan
The following is a short guide to aide consumers on what Texas electricity plan they would choose for their energy needs.
* Users who would not want to be burdened of fluctuating energy prices can choose to select a fixed rate for a certain period of time. Before the contract period will expire, the Texas electric retail provider will contact the consumer on whether to continue with the same plan for the next period.
* Consumers who are aware that they would be staying in their current abode for a short period of time or currently under a short term lease would do well in choosing a variable electricity plan as they will not be constrained or tied up by a fixed payment contract.
* Those that prefer to have the freedom to switch Texas electric companies or their payment plans without having to pay an early termination fee could opt to use a month-to-month plan. Regulations however, stipulate that people under a fixed-rate contract are not required to pay a pre-termination fee if the reason for their termination is to relocate to another city or state not covered by the Retail Electric Provider and not to switch to another provider.
* Choose Retail Electric Providers that offer special incentives or giveaways for consumers who pay regularly and are not delinquent on their Texas electricity bill payments. These giveaways of incentives can vary from free movie tickets to paid trips to pre-determined destinations depending on what the Retail Electric Providers offer subscribers.
Going through the Internet, you may have come across the concept of no deposit electrical energy. And being relatively new to these matters, you may have found yourself wondering as to what it really is, leading you to get into the research mode to find out more about it. It is that research that could have led you to this discussion, where we are trying to find out more about the workings of no deposit electricity.
Now if you are to understand the concept of no deposit electrical energy supply, it will be taken for granted that you already know that electricity is one thing that people have to pay for. There is virtually no way you can get electrical energy for free. Of course, this sounds like too obvious stuff for people who have been running households for some time. But for someone who has never run a household, and who just sees electricity (or rather its effects) everyday, there may be no way of knowing that it comes at a cost. But it sure does. The companies that generate and distribute electrical energy expect payment for the product, and they are usually quite keen on getting such payment in a timely manner; if one is to remain on the electricity supply grid.
Traditionally, people paid for electrical energy after having used it. The reasoning behind this was that there was no way one could determine how much electricity they were likely to use in advance, hence the need for a system where users would pay after using electrical energy. But in such a system, there was always a possibility of someone using electricity, say for a month, and then being unable to pay for it. In fact, this happened often, leading many electrical energy supply companies into major losses. It led to a need for a system that would ensure that the electricity supply companies would not run into major losses, in the event of customers being unable to pay for their electrical energy. The solution that was devised was the electricity supply deposit. The way it worked was such that you paid a deposit to the electrical energy supply company with your application for electricity supply. In the event that you were unable to pay for your last month’s electrical energy supply, this is the money that the electricity supply company would pocket, and pay itself.
The recent days have, however, given rise to the no deposit electricity schemes previously alluded to. In these schemes, you don’t pay any deposit to the electricity supply company.
These no deposit electricity schemes tend to be born of the prepaid electricity supply schemes. In a prepaid electricity supply scheme, you pay for your electricity units before you get to use them. Typically, you buy a card bearing the electricity units (in logical form), feed the number on it into your (smart) electricity meter, and thereby get to access the electricity units therein. In this system, the electricity supply company is at no risk of your running away with their money. They therefore need not demand a deposit from you – hence the name ‘no deposit electricity.’