Lessons at the Pump
Yes—gas prices are high. It’s an inconvenience for
some, and truly a hardship for others. Lately, I’ve been
thinking that finding ways to drive in a more fuel efficient way
can not only save money, but also remind us to practice more conscious
Look at it this way: your car gets you around in your world; the
body in which you live does the same thing. Taken a step further,
the gas you need to run your car can be thought of in the same
way as the energy you need to live your life. Both are in limited
supply, so it’s wise to pay attention to how we use it, squander
it, conserve it, or waste it.
So let’s have some fun and see how these 7 tips can be translated
to help you get more mileage out of your car and out of your life.
7 Driving Tips for Conscious Living
Driving Tip #1: Check and replace air filters regularly: Replacing
a clogged or dirty air filter keeps impurities from damaging the
inside of your engine.
Living Tip #1: To me, this tip is a reminder
to pay attention to the quality of the air we breathe:
1. If you
smoke, stop. It’s stupid really.
2. Pay attention
to your breathing, especially when you’re
stressed. Simply taking 3 or 4 long, slow, deep breaths
can help to quiet your mind and regain some balance.
3. Get that heart rate going. A recent study showed that just
30 minutes of aerobic exercise (think brisk walking) 3 times
cuts mild to moderate depression by 50 percent.
Driving Tip #2: Select the right oil: Using recommended grade
oil can improves mileage by 1-2 %-an -annual savings about $50.
Change your oil as recommended to extend the life of your car.
Living Tip #2: Just like a car needs the right quality oil to
run properly, so does our body need high quality fluid: water.
Not soda, not coffee, and not that glass of wine that tempts you
at the end of a stressful work day—just 100 % hi grade pure
Most of us don’t get those 8 glasses a day we so critically need, especially
in these hot months. And if you use thirst as a barometer, you’re in
trouble because by that time, you’re already in the early states of dehydration.
So make it a habit to reach for water before anything else, and keep your engine
running at its best.
Driving Tip #3: Slow down!
Speeding really does cost you: gas mileage usually decrease rapidly
above 60 mph. Each 5 miles per hour over 60 mph is like paying
an additional 20 cents per gallon at the pump.
Living Tip #3: Most all of us think we can get more done if we
move faster. Multi-tasking has become the norm. But actually the
reverse is true. Doing what needs to be done in a conscious, mindful
way—one thing at a time-- not only allows us to get more
done, but things just seem to flow more easily into place. Try
Driving Tip #4: Use cruise control and avoid sudden starts and
stops whenever possible. Cruise control cuts consumption by maintaining
a steady speed during highway driving.
Living Tip #4: What a great reminder to “go with the flow!” Life
really does have a natural rhythm all its own, and if we just listen
to this wisdom, rather than pushing our own agenda, we’re
more apt to enjoy the ride.
Driving Tip #5: Ditch “junk in the trunk!” An extra
100 pounds in the trunk cuts a typical vehicle’s fuel economy
by up to 2%. By removing that extra weight, you can save up to
12 gallons a year—about $48.
Living Tip #5: Okay—even though this one is obvious, you
may want to try this little experiment. Carry around a 5 lb. bag
of potatoes for even a half hour, and you’ll see how extra
weight creates wear and tear on your body.
If you have a lot of weight to lose, remember to start slow. Make
those dietary changes a way of life, and pretty soon, you too will
be traveling lighter.
Driving Tip #6: Get gas first thing in the
morning. Gasoline expands with heat and contracts with the cold.
As a result, it’s
possible that getting gas first thing in the morning gives you
more value for your dollar.
Living Tip #6: Like your momma always told you, eat a good breakfast.
Studies show that people who eat the same number of calories early
in the day, as opposed to late in the day, actually lost weight.
So, start your day off right by fueling yourself first thing in
Driving Tip #7: Avoid idling, which gets 0 mpg.
Living Tip #7: How often do our minds race—ruminating about
the past, obsessing about the future, even though on the outside
we are doing nothing at all? A lot—and that compulsive thinking
can take its toll.
So, pay attention to small windows of time to just be. If you
find yourself waiting--at a light, for an appointment, on a line—choose
to turn off. Breathe, notice what’s around you—a blue
sky, a beautiful tree-- and just be.
And one more thing: Making changes in your driving habits that
increase your mpg from 20.1 to 21.1—only one mile--saves
you 29 gallons a year or $116.
In driving, as in life, small changes do add up.
Until next time…
(*Information adapted from the Alliance to Save Energy (www.ase.org).
All savings tips are calculated with fuel economy of 20.1, with
gas at about $4.00)