"The World's Best Consumer Tips"
A Consumer Freedom Alliance Special Report
Part II: The Easiest Ways To Save On Energy Costs
you step out the door one morning and you happen to spot a
piece of green paper on the ground -- look, it's a $5 bill!
But that's not the end of it. The next day it happens again,
and to your delight it's happening every single
Wouldn't that feel great? It may sound unlikely, but it's
quite possible when you take a few simple steps to conserve
energy. If you can save $5 on energy every day, it's like
getting $1,825 every year in tax-free income! And
while you're saving money, you'll be helping to save the
The CFA has carefully sifted through the scientific evidence to
find the most effective ways to find relief from soaring energy
costs for you the consumer. This page lists your top dozen
best tips for saving energy, along with estimates of how much
money consumers can save.
The rewards for using these tips can really be
dynamite, especially considering the relatively short time it
takes to read them and put them to practical use!
The table below shows your fuel cost savings over a five-year
period, assuming an average gas price of $2.50 per gallon,
and that the average gas expense is $1,000 per year (of course,
many people pay a whole lot more.) Which of these tips can
save money for you?
Getting Better Gas Mileage
1. Keep your tires inflated.
Save up to $500.
Keep your tires inflated: every pound of under-inflation,
reduces mileage by 1% or more. This also keeps you safe
from tire blowouts. A label is present in every car (often
on the door's edge), stating the correct tire pressure. If
you're forgetful, tie a ribbon onto your fuel cap as a
reminder. Jiffy Lube gives free air refills and oil
top-offs to their customers.
2. Maintain your car well.
Save $100 to $1,000.
Change the oil and get tune-ups as recommended by the
manufacturer, replace worn tires, and replace dirty spark plugs
and air filters. This will improve mileage by at least a
few percent, and in some cases as much as 20%.
3. Take it easy on the gas pedal.
Save up to $500.
Accelerate slowly whenever possible. "Coast" to your stops
by taking your foot off the gas pedal well beforehand.
Take routes that have the fewest stops, so you won't often have
to go from zero to full speed. Stay far behind the car in
front of you, so if it slows down you won't have to hit the
brakes and accelerate again. These tips can improve
mileage up to 10%.
4. Lighten your load.
Save $50 per 30 pounds removed.
Each thirty pounds of excess weight you take out of your car
improves mileage by about 1%.
Caution: Before buying "fuel-saving" devices or
additives, check government
tests (which have never found them to work very well).
Isn't it amazing how even the weakest tip ("Lighten your load")
is so worthwhile? , imagine bringing twelve pounds
of stuff out of your car that doesn't need to be there: It
would take only two minutes, and it would be virtually the same as
picking up a twenty-dollar bill!
Now here are some even more powerful tips, again showing your
Four Great Ways to Save on Gas
1. Find lower gas prices.
Save $100 to $200.
Some stations sell gas for about 5¢ less per gallon,
including Safeway and small discounters such as CitGo. The
giant wholesaler CostCo often sells gas at a 10¢ discount.
2. Use "rewards" credit cards.
Save $1,250 or more.
Some cards will save 5% on gas costs, while others will pay you
rebates of 3-6% on all your purchases at gas stations, drug
stores and supermarkets. If you purchase $5,000 worth of
groceries and supplies at a supermarket this year, a 6% rebate
will earn $300 in free gas for you. The Consumer Card Report
site maintains a list of the best rewards cards.
3. Buy a more fuel-efficient car.
Save $5,000 or more.
If you drive a low-cost and fuel-efficient used car you'll pay
less up front and get better mileage. What actually saves
the most money is that its resale value will drop more
slowly. For example a new $20,000 car will resell for about
$10,000 in five years, while a used $10,000 car will resell for
perhaps $5,000 five years from now. If you do buy a new
car, keep in mind that driving a hybrid cuts your gas expenses
about 25%. An Edmunds.com page covers
your fuel-economy options nicely. You might also think
about using a car-sharing company like FlexCar or ZipCar.
4. Drive 2,500 to 10,000 fewer miles per year.
Save $3,750 to $30,000.
It costs about $0.30 to $0.60 per mile to drive a car including
fuel, buying the car, insurance & maintenance. You can
drive less by using one or more of these strategies: car
pooling, van pooling, telecommuting to work one or more days per
week, moving closer to work (or working closer to home), using
mass transit, combining errands, and making fewer unnecessary
trips. The Consumer Energy Center does a good job of
explaining all your transportation choices.
Example: Let's say a consumer drives 5,000 fewer
miles per year. At 40¢ per mile, over five years the
savings amount to (5,000 x $0.40 x 5 years) = $10,000.
Why not print out this tipsheet right now as your quick &
easy guide to energy savings? Keeping a printout handy
will go a long way towards reminding you to use these
So now you know how to find a fistful of dollars on your
doorstep. Most Americans won't find this
daily manna, but now you can walk out the door
every day with a smile -- because you
Thought for the Day:"The purpose of conservation: The greatest good to the
greatest number of people for the longest time."
~ Gifford Pinchot (1865-1946), Founder of the National Conservation Association.
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1. Save or print this tipsheet
2. Consider doing these tips one by one
3. Do an energy audit to get more tips
If you haven't received an energy audit for your home yet, call
your local power company and find out how to get one -- you
might save hundreds or even thousands. But remember that
expensive improvements such as energy-efficient windows may not
be cost-effective. Ask for cost/benefit figures to prove
that recommendations are worth the money spent.
Seal off all cracks and vents that
could be leaking air (especially in the attic and
Close off seldom-used
rooms, lower their thermostats and close their vents.
Clean the vents and
filters of your heating and A/C units to keep them efficient, as
recommended by the manufacturer.
Consider replacing old
energy-hogging appliances: air conditioners use only 50%
of the energy they did fifteen years ago, water heaters are often
20% more efficient than ten years ago, and today's furnaces are
about 25% more efficient than they were twenty years ago.
These improvements often pay for themselves in just a few years.
Joke: "We Take All Major Cards"
"There was a sign at the gas station nearby my house that
said, 'We take Visa, MasterCard, Discover Card, and American
Express.' After I filled up, they took my Visa, Master
Card, Discover Card, and my American
--Jay Leno, Tonight
Email this joke in two clicks!
We've listed the best ways to save on electricity below.
Your estimated five-year savings are based on an average
electricity cost of $0.10 per kilowatt-hour. If you want to
look up the 2006 energy costs for any state, just click on this
select-box (the fist number listed is the cost of electricity,
the second number is the cost of natural gas per thousand cubic
Best Electricity Savers
1. Use fluorescent light bulbs.
Save $43 per bulb.
Use fluorescent bulbs for frequently used lights. Fluorescent bulbs
have come way down in price and they now give off a softer
light, so there's little reason to buy any other kind of bulb.
2. Turn your PC off for 4, 8 or 16 hours/day.
Save $109, $218 or $436.
You can set your computer to go into energy-saving "standby" mode
when you're not using it (see this easy tutorial).
These savings are for a desktop computer: if you're on a
laptop you're already saving about 80% on computer costs.
If you have a lot of peripherals or audio/video equipment, put as
many as you can on one power strip and turn them all off
there. You'll save hundreds more because most electronics
enter "vampire mode" when turned off, still sucking juice.
3. Use a small oven 2, 4 or 6 times per week.
Save $150, $300 or $450.
Using a microwave or convection oven instead of a large kitchen
oven will save you money.
4. Use an "alternative" energy provider.
Save $1,000 to $4,000.
Many consumers in 18 states (including Arizona, Illinois,
Michigan, Oregon, Texas and most Northeastern states) can switch
their electricity provider to an alternative service, easily
saving around 20% on all electricity costs.
The money you can save by using an alternative provider depends
on the size of your home and whether it's heated with gas or
electricity. Switching isn't difficult, it just takes a
little time to inquire and get cost quotes. Start at the
Public Utility Commission in your state (click here to find your state's Commission.)
Ask each alternative provider about any additional fees, and
remember that taxes may or may not be included in their
Your appliances that use the most electricity are mostly the ones
that heat water. Fifty gallons of water in a heater has
about the same mass as all the air in an average
apartment. But the air mostly stays insulated inside, while
your heated water gets used up and flushed away. Here's how
to save significant money, along with your approximate
Let's Get Into Hot Water Now
1. Lower the water heater to 120°.
If your water heater thermostat is at 140°, lowering it to no
more than 120° could easily save this amount.
2. Wash clothes in cold water 1, 3 or 6 times per week.
Save $50, $150 or $300.
Wash clothes in cold water instead of warm water (or use warm
water instead of hot). Hot water wears out clothes sooner
anyway, and you can use a pre-soak instead to get better
3. Use your dishwasher's full cycle only once per week.
Use your dishwasher's full cycle once per week instead of daily
(use the rinse mode daily instead).
4. Use a low-flow showerhead for 1, 2 or 4 showers per day.
Save $375, $750 or $1,500
Showers are a big part of both your energy bill and your water
bill. These savings assume eight minutes per shower.
P.S. Want to help make the world a better place,
? Forwarding these tips will undoubtedly
help your friends save money, decrease America's reliance on
Mideast oil, reduce pollution, and help lower our trade
deficit! If you send these tips to your friends and urge
them to subscribe, they will in turn help their friends,
and soon everyone will be helping the whole world change for the
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