5 Ways to Save Gas Money
Here's how to keep more cash in your pocket when you're at the pump.
Don't let hefty gas costs slow down your road-tripping fun. According to AAA, regular gas was $3.68 per gallon, on average, in late June, about 16 cents more than the year before. And costs are expected to stay relatively high, between $3.55 and $3.70 per gallon, throughout the summer, which is usual for the peak travel period. But you can keep your pain at the pump under control. Here are five ways to save on gas:
1. Search online for the lowest gas prices.
Before you hit the road, head to the information superhighway. GasBuddy.com and its 12 million registered users will help you find the lowest gas prices in your area. Search the site by zip code or city and state to reveal the lowest local gas prices posted by other users. Better yet, download the GasBuddy app to find the best prices on the go.
Keep in mind that prices may change during the day and nobody is fact-checking user-reported prices. So, the price you found online may differ from what you find at the station. You'll also want to check that the price on the pump matches what is on the sign.
2. Target the best day and time to buy gas.
Don't wait until your gas gauge drops near the "E" to fill 'er up. Better to note when you have a quarter-full tank and give yourself some time to locate and get to the station with the lowest price.
Planning ahead can also help you schedule some savings. The best time of day to refuel is before dawn or late at night; stations usually raise prices during the day, especially for rush hour. The best day of the week to score cheap gas varies, but the majority of motorists will find the best deals late in the week or over the weekend, according to a recent study from GasBuddy. (Some outliers: Gas tends to be cheaper on Mondays in Indiana, Iowa and Kentucky.) See the full analysis for the best day to buy gas in your state.
3. Improve your gas mileage with better driving habits.
High speeds, quick starts and squealing stops burn more gas—and money. Smoother rides, with less pedal pushing, can improve fuel economy by up to 37%, according to Edmunds.com. Consider using your cruise control more often to keep your speed in check. And practice looking farther down the road to anticipate traffic. Light turning red? Ease off the gas well ahead of your stop.
Idle cars are the devil's Big Gulp. According to the Energy Department's fueleconomy.gov site, idling can drain your tank by a quarter- to a half-gallon of fuel per hour, depending on the size of your engine and use of air conditioning. On the other hand, restarting your car will only sip up a few seconds' worth of gas, so you're better off powering down when you're parked or sitting in excessive traffic. Also, consider a GPS: It'll provide the fastest, most efficient route to your destination, which can save you money.
And why drive if you don't have to? If you can't commute by bike or foot, try public transportation or find a carpool. Check if your employer offers subsidies for train or bus fares. And ridesharing services, such as eRideShare.com, Boontrek.com and Carmacarpool.com, make it easy to connect with others heading your way.
4. Keep your car healthy.
Proper maintenance of air filters, spark plugs and fluid levels is best for your car and wallet. The right tire pressure is also very important for good fuel economy. Every pound-per-square-inch under the manufacturer's recommendation for all four tires lowers your gas mileage by 0.3%.
You also want to keep your car on the right diet. If it's not recommended in your owner's manual, don't waste your money on premium gas, which can cost 15 to 20 cents per gallon more than regular. And try to keep the pounds off your car. Large loads affect cars just as they do to mules or horses: They weigh the vehicle down and make it harder to speed up. In fact, your fuel economy may be reduced by up to 2% per 100 packed-on pounds. Smaller cars are especially put upon by excess cargo.
5. Make good on gas rewards.
Carrying the right credit card can earn you rebates on gas purchases. Some cards will get you 5% cash back when you purchase gas. Shopping at certain stores can get you gas discounts, too. For example, you can save 10 cents per gallon for every 100 points you earn at Giant grocery stores.
© 2014 The Kiplinger Washington Editors
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Cost of Accountability Act Over 1,000 Times Higher Than Scholarship Awards Last Year
Members, AERA is actively working on our “Vision for Victory”, an effort to break the Super Majority in the state legislature to allow the Democratic process to prevail. Here is a prime example of the type of laws passed with one party in complete control. The Accountability Act is benefiting those who have organized Scholarship Granting Organizations (SGO) allowing them to make millions of dollars that negatively impact ETF. (See article below)
This is why we MUST work together this fall to elect “Friends of Public Education”. Bring H.O.P.E. to Alabama – Help Others Vote Politically Effective! If we don’t succeed, your financial security could be at risk. Get involved.
Janice J. Charlesworth
Alabama Education Retirees Association
Cost of Accountability Act Over 1,000 Times Higher Than Scholarship Awards Last Year
24 Jul 2014
By Lee Hedgepeth
Alabama Political Reporter
MONTGOMERY – Yesterday, the Alabama Department of Revenue released financial statistics revealing the 2013 incomes and expenses of the so-called Scholarship Granting Organizations created under the controversial Accountability Act. The report outlines how much each of the eight registered groups raised through a tax credit plan funded out of the Education Trust Fund Budget, as well as exactly how many scholarships the SGOs awarded to low-income children in failing school districts last year – and the data was staggering.
Under the Alabama Accountability Act, the Scholarship Granting Organizations are limited to receiving tax credit matched contributions up to a total cap of $25 million, a limit the entities had no problem nearly maxing out last year, despite an apparently nonexistent demand for the funding. All in all, $24,787,079 was raised in 2013 by SGOs to provide, according to the Alabama House GOP website, “tax credits for families in a chronically failing school to attend a nonpublic school or non-failing public school.”
Of the $24.8 million raised though, a mere $24,290 was allocated to scholarships – .001 percent of total – including only nine students statewide, four of which would never have attended a school labeled as “failing” under the law.
About seventy percent of the money secured under the SGO provision, a total of nearly $18 million, was raised by one group – former Governor Bob Riley's Alabama Opportunity Scholarship Fund, which according to the Department of Revenue did not award any scholarships to any students statewide in 2013.
Additionally, most of the funding acquired by Riley's SGO (and therefore a vast majority of all of the tax breaks) came from big business sources, with the average of the twenty five tax credited contributions they received totaling about a quarter million dollars each.
These average donation figures did contrast those of other SGOs like Scholarships for Kids, which raise the second largest amount, about $6 million, with not 25 but 753 different donors, representing an average donation of only a little over $8,000. Like Riley's SGO, though, Scholarship for Kids did not award a single scholarship in 2013.
Another SGO, Circle of Love Outreach, which awarded four of the nine scholarships in 2013, is explained in the report as having failed to file an annual report. Therefore, the report says, “the SGO has been removed from the list of SGOs participating in the Tax Credit Scholarship Program.”
Perhaps the most astonishing aspect of the report comes with the realization that with nearly no scholarship awards in 2013, administrative costs provided to the SGOs under the law will outnumber actual scholarship spending by fifty to one. According to the provisions of the AAA, each SGO is allowed to take five percent of any money raised annually as an administrative fee, a total in 2013 of over $1.2 million, compared to under $25,000 spent on actual student tuition scholarships. That statistic, while baffling, is perhaps eclipsed by the fact that as a year over year investment for 2013, the Alabama Accountability Act provided to the parents of low-income student more than a thousand times less than the amount of revenue lost to the Education Trust Fund Budget in the same time period.
In fact, as the Alabama Political Reporter has chronicled, the costs of the law have already trickled down to individual school districts. The Tallapoosa County Superintendent of Schools, for example, recently announced the termination of several library aide positions at schools countywide due to budget shortfalls caused by the Accountability Act.
“That was a $40 million cost to edication funding. Our share of that cost as a system was $268,000,” Superintendent Windle said. “That's what it cost us."
Although there was no ETF fiscal note attached to the bill that became the Alabama Accountability Act, it was well known that there would be some, then-unknown impact on the ETF budget due to the SGO program, costs of which were roughly estimated by the then House education budget committee to be between $50 and $60 million a year.
The Act has been ruled unconstitutional by a Montgomery Circuit Court Judge on several grounds, but he has stayed his ruling pending an appeal.
Medicare Anniversary – Action Needed!
Next Wednesday, July 30th – is the 49th Anniversary of Medicare. For 49 years, Medicare has provided guaranteed health benefits that help lift seniors and people with disabilities out of poverty. Today, Medicare benefits over 50 million Americans, more than half with incomes under $23,000 who could not afford health care without it.
NCPSSM is celebrating the anniversary by making sure that Congress preserves and strengthens these earned benefits. The Ryan Budget passed the House in April would end traditional Medicare.
You can help us celebrate by calling or writing to Congress and asking them to join you in marking the anniversary by working to preserve our benefits. If Medicare has already helped you or a loved one, tell your story of why it is so important to you.
Call Congress: 1-800-998-0180
Write to Congress: www.ncpssm.org/MedicareAnniversary
Please share this message and the attached flyer with your friends, family and community network.
AERA Dues Deduction Not Impacted
AERA Annual District Meeting - 2014 Schedule
Here are four good reasons why you should attend the upcoming Annual District Meetings: 1) You will receive up-to-date legislative information designed exclusively for education retirees, 2) You will get a free 2014-2015 PEEHIP Open Enrollment Booklet (these are no longer mailed to TRS participants), 3) You will be offered free wellness screenings sponsored by PEEHIP and the Public Health Department, and 4) You will have the opportunity to network with other education retirees.
Registration starts at 9 a.m. The meeting will begin at 9:30 a.m. and conclude by noon. A listing in italics indicates a new facility.
July 16, Wednesday District 7
Aldersgate UM Church
6610 Vaughn Road
July 17, Thursday District 9
Enterprise City Schools Service Center
1648 E Park Avenue 36330 – Hwy 84 East
July 21, Monday District 6
Alabama Southern Community College
Main Conference Room
July 22, Tuesday District 8
Faulkner State Community College
Branch Business Building, Room B-111
July 29, Tuesday District 1
First United Methodist Church
311 North Jackson Avenue
July 30, Wednesday District 2
First United Methodist Church
539 Gunter Avenue
August 12, Tuesday District 5
Great Bethel Baptist Church
692 Jefferson Street
August 13, Wednesday District 4
Decatur Highway Church of Christ
1750 Decatur Highway
August 19, Tuesday District 3
Northport Civic Center
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