What You Can Do to Conserve Fuel
How you use energy helps determines the size of your fuel bill. Although the demand for crude oil and natural gas is projected to increase, if consumers choose to use more energy efficient products or take other actions to conserve energy, a reduction in demand could lead to lower-than-expected prices.
Here are some easy ways you can save energy in the car, at work and in the home. Learn about what Chevron is doing.
Many drivers use fuel economy as major criteria when choosing a motor vehicle. Whether you drive an old or new car, you can increase the energy efficiency of your vehicle by performing routine maintenance and adopting good driving habits.
- Avoid aggressive driving. Speeding, rapid acceleration and braking wastes gasoline. It can lower your gas mileage by 33 percent at highway speeds and by 5 percent around town. Sensible driving is also safer for you and others, so you may save more than gas money.
- Observe the Speed Limit. While each vehicle reaches its optimal fuel economy at a different speed (or range of speeds), gas mileage usually decreases rapidly at speeds above 60 mph. As a rule of thumb, you can assume that each 5 mph you drive over 60 mph is like paying an additional $0.21 per gallon for gas.
- Remove Excess Weight. Avoid keeping unnecessary items in your vehicle, especially heavy ones. An extra 100 pounds in your vehicle could reduce your MPG by up to 2 percent. The reduction is based on the percentage of extra weight relative to the vehicle's weight and affects smaller vehicles more than larger ones.
- Avoid Excessive Idling. Idling gets 0 miles per gallon. Cars with larger engines typically waste more gas at idle than do cars with smaller engines.
- Use Cruise Control. Using cruise control on the highway helps you maintain a constant speed and, in most cases, will save gas.
- Use Overdrive Gears. When you use overdrive gearing, your car's engine speed goes down. This saves gas and reduces engine wear.
- Keep tires properly inflated. You can improve your gas mileage by around 3.3 percent by keeping your tires inflated to the proper pressure. Under-inflated tires can lower gas mileage by 0.4 percent for every 1 psi drop in pressure of all four tires. Properly inflated tires are safer and last longer.
- Use the Recommended Grade of Motor Oil. You can improve your gas mileage by 1-2 percent by using the manufacturer's recommended grade of motor oil. For example, using 10W-30 motor oil in an engine designed to use 5W-30 can lower your gas mileage by 1-2 percent. Using 5W-30 in an engine designed for 5W-20 can lower your gas mileage by 1-1.5 percent. Also, look for motor oil that says "Energy Conserving" on the API performance symbol to be sure it contains friction-reducing additives.
Source: U.S. Department of Energy, www.fueleconomy.gov
In the United States, approximately half of the money spent on energy use in the home goes toward heating and cooling. Consumers can take easy, inexpensive steps to reduce household energy consumption and minimize energy loss.
- Reducing air leaks could cut as much as 10 percent from an average household's monthly energy bill. Seal leaks around doors, windows and other openings such as pipes or ducts, with caulk or weather-stripping. The most common places where air escapes in homes are: doors, windows, floors, walls, ceilings, ducts, fireplaces, electric outlets, fans and vents.
- Set thermostats between 65 and 70 degrees during the winter, and at 58 degrees when away from home. While sleeping, consider adding an extra blanket for warmth.
- Turn down thermostats automatically without sacrificing comfort by installing an automatic setback or programmable thermostat.
- Change or clean furnace filters once a month during the heating season.
- Warm air rises, so use registers to direct warm air-flow across the floor.
- Close vents and doors in unused rooms and close dampers on unused fireplaces.
- Set water heater temperatures at 120 degrees. A family of four, each showering for five minutes a day, uses 700 gallons of water each week.
- If radiators are located near cold walls, place a sheet of aluminum foil between the radiator and the wall to reflect heat back into the room.
- Run washing machines and clothes dryers with a full load.
- On sunny days, open draperies and blinds to let the sun's warmth in. Close them at night to insulate against cold air outside.
Source: American Gas Association, www.aga.org
- By arranging to have your tank filled in late summer or early fall when prices are generally lower, you may be able to save money. Your heating oil dealer may be able to help stabilize your monthly bill by participating in a budget plan or a fixed price protection programs.
Source: Energy Information Administration
- Shopping for lower-priced gas may reduce your natural gas bill. To find out if your state participates in customer choice programs, visit the Energy Information Adminstration at www.eia.doe.gov.
Source: Energy Information Administration
There are many energy and money saving opportunities at the workplace. In some cases, the type of office equipment employed may have an equal or greater impact on energy consumption than its actual use.
- Turn off your computers and any other office equipment when you're not using them, especially overnight and weekends. This practice costs nothing and can potentially save as much as $44 per year, per computer, depending on what you pay per kilowatt-hour.
- To be as energy efficient as possible, purchase office equipment that displays the ENERGY STAR® logo.
- Choose settings that automatically switch the computer monitor into sleep or "power-down" mode when it hasn't been worked on for a preset amount of time. Shorten the delay time before your monitor automatically goes into sleep mode.
- Consider using laptop computers, since they use up to 90 percent less energy than a standard computer.
- If it works for your business, consider ink-jet printers which use 90 percent less energy than laser printers.
- Purchase the proper sized copier for your business needs.
- Choose the smallest computer monitor that will meet your needs. The bigger the monitor, the more energy it uses. For example, a 17-inch monitor consumes 35 percent more electricity than a 14-inch monitor.
Source: California Energy Commission