"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 day!!

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 environment.

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 five-year savings:

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 tips.

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 will!

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.


If You Liked This Tipsheet...

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To-Do List:
1. Save or print this tipsheet
2. Consider doing these tips one by one
3. Do an energy audit to get more tips

At SmartConsumerTips.com anyone can get the blockbuster Special Report "The World's Best Consumer Tips".  It's fast, free and fun!
Here's One "Audit" You'll Love!
1. Get a "home energy audit". 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.
2. Do a
You might save nearly as much money using these energy-saving tips.  For a more complete list, see EnergyGuide's Do-It-Yourself Energy Audit.
 Seal off all cracks and vents that could be leaking air (especially in the attic and chimney).

 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 Express."

--Jay Leno, Tonight Show

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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 feet):

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 quote.

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 five-year savings:

Let's Get Into Hot Water Now
1. Lower the water heater to 120°. Save $145.  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 cleaning.
3. Use your dishwasher's full cycle only once per week. Save $109.  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.

1. A Consumer's Guide to Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, U.S. Department of Energy
2. Transportation Choices For Consumers, California State Energy Commission, Consumer Energy Center website
3. How to save money on water heating use, Michael Bluejay, Mr. Electricity article
4. How much electricity do computers use?, Michael Bluejay, Mr. Electricity article
5. Average Retail Price of Electricity to Ultimate Customers by End-Use Sector, by State, Department of Energy, Electric Power Monthly
6. U.S. Natural Gas Prices, Energy Information Administration, Official Energy Statistics from the U.S. Government
7. Weekly Retail Gasoline and Diesel Prices, Energy Information Administration, Official Energy Statistics from the U.S. Government
8. Do “Low-flow” Shower Heads Really Save Money? , Bruce Hauschild, Nebraska Energy Quarterly
9. 9 ways to cut commuting costs, Bankrate.com article
10. "True Cost to Own", Edmunds.com article
11. Automobile Driving Costs, American Automobile Association and Runzheimer International, Your Driving Costs, 2005 Edition.
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 better.

How to forward this page:  Go to http://www.smartconsumertips.com and sign up for the Special Report "The World's Best Consumer Tips." You'll soon receive this page and more in your email inbox.  Then you can forward great consumer tips to anyone you know!  Your name and email address will not be shared with anyone.

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