Four Steps to Saving Fuel

Protesters in the Middle East

Protesters in the Middle East

Oil hit $100 a barrel again today.  The leaders of Tunisia and Egypt were ousted and it looks like Libya is next.  Iran, Bahrain and other Middle Eastern countries are watching protests escalate.  To say that the Middle East has become unstable is an understatement.  As a result, we're watching the price of fuel rise almost daily.

At Mapawatt, our charter is to help people learn how they use energy, how to compare their energy usage with others and how to reduce energy usage through improvements and changes in habits.  In the spirit of our charter, we'd like to share with you four ideas on how you can help reduce the amount of fuel you use and help offset the rise in fuel prices on your monthly budget.

Work from Home

Right now is a great time to talk with your employer about working from home at least one day a week.  They will understand the fuel price issue so try to negotiate a work from home policy.  Depending on the distance of your commute, this could help reduce your monthly fuel budget even if it is just for one day a week.  The best way to reduce your fuel usage is to leave you car in the driveway.

Plan Ahead for Grocery Shopping

If you are like me, you go to the grocery store way too often.  Plan a week's worth of meals, make a grocery list of ingredients and shop for the whole week in one visit.  Lot's of short trips to the store burn up a lot of fuel since stop and go traffic is the worst on fuel economy.

Bike or Walk instead of Driving

If you live close enough to your job to walk or bike to work, try to do this at least one day a week.  The weather is starting to warm up and spring is around the corner.  Take advantage of a nice weather day and bike or walk to work.  Don't forget to set your alarm clock earlier to give you enough time to get to work on time.  If you are not within biking or walking distance to work, go for a walk or ride your bike on the weekends instead of taking a drive for entertainment.  We love our cars but leave it in the driveway and enjoy the nice weather and exercise.

Get a Streaming Movie box

Instead of going out to dinner and a movie, get a Roku or other streaming movie device for your television.  These devices use a broadband internet connection to stream rented movies to your television from sites such as Amazon Video on Demand and Netflix.  Staying in instead of going out to the movies will save fuel.  While the devices cost around $100, they will pay for themselves after a few movie dates from home.  Don't forget the popcorn on your grocery list!

I know there are lots of other great ideas on how to save fuel.  Let us know your favorite energy saver by commenting below.

enjoyed our post? let others know: 


I don't use a car at all in Atlanta except the occasional Zipcar. I ride a 50cc scooter everywhere in all weather. The 2 cycle engine gets 70-75 mpg.
My Roku box helped me make the decision to drop "cable" (actually AT&T Uverse). I don't watch much TV, and almost everything I do watch is either covered by my Netflix subscription, or available at $2 to $3 per episode from Amazon. What I was paying per month for the TV portion of Uverse will be plenty enough to cover the per episode purchases. This means that my set top box has been returned. The Uverse box was much more frugal at 13W than its Comcast predecessor (40W). But even 13W adds up when used 24x7 to 114 kWh per year.
Robert, That's awesome! City dwelling makes it a lot easier to keep fuel costs down. Do you find it a little dangerous driving in Atlanta traffic? I guess the scooter gives you a little better zip than a pedal bicycle. I'm also curious if you use MARTA as part of your transportation? Powell
How many watts does the Roku use? I have a Roku XR and will check the energy usage with my killawatt and report back. Powell
The AT&T DVR was on 24x7 so that it could record TV shows when they were broadcast (I did toy with the idea of putting it on a timer that would shut it down across periods when I never ask it to record - but never got around to implementing it). My Roku lives on a power-strip with all the other non-essential audio/video equipment - when I'm not using it, it gets 0W. I've heard that it is pretty low power (~4W DC - perhaps 6-7 at the AC wall socket - it will be interesting to see the killawatt data). It only takes a bit over a minute to boot after I power it on.
ckmapawatt's picture
Tony, I'm sure you saw our post on the electronic timer and DVR: I'll admit that I haven't done it either, but it's mainly because I'm afraid of messing up the DVR box by constantly shutting power to it. I need to investigate if there are any settings to put it into standby mode electronically?
Chris, The U-verse box was about 20W when "on" (recording, playing, or both) and 13W in "standby". As I said at the start of this thread a huge improvement over the Comcast set top box which took 40W all the time. Just shutting off the power to the box might cause some issues if it is doing something - but really shouldn't. I assume the cable company doesn't want to see support calls to fix boxes after every power outage. Of course their recovery process after a power fail might lose some recorded shows.

Post new comment

Subscribe to Comments for "Four Steps to Saving Fuel"