Senator Hassell-Thompson Promotes Ways To Save Money On Gas This Summer

Ruth Hassell-Thompson

May 19, 2008

Albany—State Senator Ruth Hassell-Thompson (D-Bronx/Westchester) today urged New Yorkers to prepare for summer by looking for ways to conserve energy and use less gas. To help constituents understand the many small steps that can lead to big savings, Senator Hassell-Thompson has put together a collection of tips on how every driver can get away with spending less at the pump.

"Americans are consuming six times more energy than the average person anywhere else in the world," explained Senator Hassell-Thompson. "Unfortunately, we don’t often realize what that actually means until we fill up our gas tank or open our electric bill. Even though driving less is not always an option, there are many steps that every car owner can take to save on gas this summer." The lawmaker affirmed that Memorial Day weekend is the "unofficial start" of the summer traveling season.

Among the tips compiled by Senator Hassell-Thompson include:

  • Buying the lowest grade octane recommended for your vehicle.
  • Slowing Down—every 5 miles per hour over 60 could cost you as much as 10 cents a gallon.
  • Reducing stops—"stop and go" driving can cost you 2-3 miles per gallon.
  • Tightening up that gas cap—every year, loose and damaged gas caps cause 147 million gallons of gas to evaporate right out of Americans’ gas tanks.
  • Fill your tank when it is half full—the more air that is allowed in your tank, the more gas will evaporate.
  • Buy gas early in the morning or at night—fuel is denser at lower temperatures.
  • Parking in the shade—hot cars cause gas to evaporate more quickly.
  • Emptying your trunk and don’t carry items on your roof if at all possible—this can decrease your gas mileage by five percent.
  • Pumping up your tires—under-inflated tires wear down more quickly causing your car to use more gas to get up to speed.
  • Using the right oil—this alone can add two percent onto your gas mileage.
  • When you are done fueling, turn the nozzle upside down while still in your car, this gets every last drop into your tank and not on your shoes.
  • Using your air conditioner at higher speeds and opening the windows at lower speeds.
  • Carpooling--despite the many benefits of carpooling, too few Americans do it. Arrange a route with a co-worker or two and you will save big at the pump (not to mention the wear and  tear put on your vehicle).

According to the United States Department of Energy, Americans are spending $1 million per minute on energy—60 minutes an hour, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, with the average New Yorker spending $183 on gas and $99.83 on their household electric bill—more if they use an air conditioner.

"Energy prices are out of control. And with about 20,000 new cars hitting the roads every day in China alone, it seems increasingly unlikely that as demand increases and resources become more limited, that the price of gas will go down. People are already saddled with high gas prices and all indications are that by the end of the summer a gallon may cost as much as $5. It is clear that the time for real investment in renewable energies has come," said Senator Hassell-Thompson.

Hassell-Thompson and State Senate Democrats have championed alternative energies, particularly the production of biofuels made from quickly renewable resources, like switch grass, potatoes and soybeans.

"The possibilities are endless. Unfortunately the federal government has failed to invest in the science and intellect that could lead to a more energy efficient and economically sound future. New York must step up to the plate and invest in the production and distribution of alternative energies. These tips are important as New Yorkers brace for what could be a costly summer. Consumers must be armed with ways to protect their own bottom lines," concluded Senator Hassell-Thompson.