This article, linked originally from Lifehacker (which misses the point and specifically calls out stocking up on meat and freezing milk) gets to the heart of conservation: waste less. Of course, the article couches it in terms of cold, hard cash: it costs you more to let your air conditioning run wild. It costs you more when you waste gas by driving needless miles.
I’ve been harping on this to anyone who will listen lately, and even those who won’t: buying a more efficient vehicle (or buying any “green” product, really) is a nice extra step to take, but it’s not the answer to the problem. It’s addressing the symptom.
In the case of cars and gasoline, finding a higher mpg car might seem like a conservative solution. In fact, it’s just addressing the symptom whose cause is driving too many miles.
Stop driving as much. Or, to put in terms of savings “Reduce the number of miles that you drive. Not only will you buy less gas, but you’ll reduce the cost of maintenance, lengthen the life of your car, and might even lower the cost of insuring it.”
Ride a bike. Walk. Take a bus. Nothing will make you really consider whether you need to make a trip more than having to hoof it there (or wait for a bus, or air up your bike tires, find your helmet, get your bike lock…) You’ll be healthier for it, and richer, too. It will you save money on your car, sure, but you can also ditch that gym membership in the process. Or better still, you may simply find that biking or walking to get that latte just doesn’t seem all that compelling.
Ok, ok. I get it if you can’t use public or human-powered transportation. If you live way out in the country, where 10+ miles of shoulderless highway stand between you and “town”, you probably already run all your errands at once. And if you don’t, you’re either half retarded or made of money. In those cases, my silly little blog doesn’t interest you or you don’t care about saving a few dollars. Or both. Why are you even here??
But maybe you live in a weird outskirts area that’s too remote for the bus or a walk, but still too “city” for a safe bike ride. I get that. So in your case, make sure you’re getting all your errands run in one swoop, like the non-retarded country people do. C’mon. It’s what your grandma would’ve done. Hell, you’re grandma would’ve nutted up and biked into town anyway. Just sayin.