Dec 12th, 2011 | By | Category: Senior Finances

Senior Citizens Change Driving Habits

An AARP article in September, 2011, described a variety of ways senior citizens can save money.  Being thrifty in difficult economic times just makes sense.  Coupon shopping, eating at home rather than in restaurants, living on a budget designed for your income and necessary expenses, limiting credit card use to only what you can pay when the bill comes all lead to saving money for senior citizens.

There is another suggestion SCJ has that can make a huge dent in your annual bill for gasoline for your vehicle.  That is, change your driving habits so you intentionally use less gas.  When we purchased our Toyota Camry Hybrid almost six years ago, we soon discovered it had a built-in reward system.  When we achieved at least 35-40 mpg, the words “EXCELLENT” popped up on the LED readout screen.  The car told us when we had driven well enough to achieve good gas mileage.  We were hooked.

Tips to Increase Gas Mileage

For the past (almost) six years, we learned by trial and error how to keep the mileage up and get the Excellent on our auto report card.  Here’s what we learned:

  • Slow turtle starts, as opposed to jackrabbit starts, saved us gas;
  • Speeds of 55-65 on the highway saves gas;
  • Watching ahead for stop lights and signs in the city, and coasting to a stop rather than braking, increases gas mileage;
  • Taking the foot off the accelerator and coasting downhill uses almost no gas;
  • The last mile home is relatively flat; when we slowed down to about 20 mph, the gasoline engine shut off and the electric system took over, taking us that last mile on electric power; even with a standard gasoline engine, slowing down that last mile every time you approach your home can save gas.

These simple changes in our driving habits cut our gasoline bill in half.  Of course, the hybrid contributed to that.  But when we recently used the auto of a family member, who reported that we would probably only get 15-16 mpg while driving it, we discovered we could get 25 mpg if we drove as if it were the hybrid.  So gasoline savings will likely result no matter the kind of power the vehicle has.  Just another good way we seniors can pinch some pennies.



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