Do High Gas Prices Mean Safer Roads?

by : Bruce Lipski

People who don't make a lot and have to drive to work are really having trouble making ends meet right now with the high gas prices. It is affecting every aspect of our lives and it makes you think about how much our society is dependent on oil. There are ways to save on gas though, and in the end it might make our roads a little bit safer.

I decided to see if I could save a little if I changed my driving habits. The first thing I did was to turn off the air conditioning that was always on in my car. Having the air conditioning button on, even when the heat is on, seems to work wonders in preventing the windows from fogging up. That is why I always have it on.

On a cold or cool day, you are constantly battling the the windows and their constant desire to fog up and having the air conditioning on all the time works really well. But, the air conditioning uses extra gasoline so I tried turning it off instead and only using it when it got too hot. Now that summer is here though, this may be harder to do.

The second thing I tried was to drive more slowly. I have heard that if you drive close to 60 MPH you will use less gasoline than if you drive at a higher speed. I now drive like a Grandpa and try to keep it at 60 MPH and not go over. I just settle in on the right lane and am very content to drive behind the slowest driver as I know I am saving money and it is safer anyway. If I always keep it close to 60, the chances of getting in an accident or getting a ticket diminish which is very nice. I wonder if other people are doing this too? By driving slower you are both saving money and being safer.

To see if this would really save gas, I ran my tank down to as close to empty as I dared and then filled it full. I drove normally with the air conditioning on and then recorded the number of miles I got for that tank. I then filled my tank up a second time, turned off the air conditioning, and drove at 60 mph for that whole tank. The great part is that I got just about 30 more miles for that tank of gas! It's not a huge savings but to some people even $5 to $8 in savings per tank would really help.

If everybody slowed down a little it would make it safer for everyone on the roads and we would all be saving in gas as well. Right now I have not really noticed a difference in the speeds of other cars but I wonder if things will change if gas keeps going up to $5 or $6 dollars a gallon.