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Five Emotional Steps to Save Money on Gas

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  • Five Emotional Steps to Save Money on Gas

    Saving money on gas is at the top of everyone’s minds right now, not only in the United States, where gas is on its way to $5 a gallon, but in Europe and elsewhere were gas can be as high as $10 a gallon.

    Not surprisingly, the U.S. Department of Transportation reported that 11 billion fewer miles were driven from March 2007 to March 2008 -- its largest decrease in driving ever.

    But what if there were ways to save money on gas without drastically cutting back on driving? There are, and they have to do with your emotions.

    The Emotional Route to Fuel Efficiency

    “We are often emotional drivers. If we have had a rough day or we are feeling out of control in our life we often will take it out on our cars by hitting the accelerator or rushing to make a light that we know we cannot,” says Hale Dwoskin, CEO and Director of Training of Sedona Training Associates.

    “Then we end up over-braking or even sitting right behind someone on the highway even though we know it is dangerous,” he continues.

    Driving aggressively -- speeding, braking hard, flooring the accelerator -- is one of the biggest fuel wasters there is. In fact, just by accelerating slowly and stopping gradually Edmunds.com says you can cut your gas usage by 35 percent.

    The problem is that most of us let our emotions get the better of us -- and our driving. This includes getting in the car even when it would be easier to walk. Rather than anger, driving unnecessarily is often the result of habit or laziness.

    “No matter what the cause of your emotional driving habits they can be easily changed if you welcome the behavior and how you feel about it then let go of the motivating feelings,” Dwoskin says. “Once the feeling motivators are released you will enjoy driving more in ways that are best for you, your car and your wallet.”

    With that in mind, here are the top emotional steps to save money on gas:

    1. It's not a competition. Let go of the feeling that you must stay ahead of traffic or beat someone to the light.
    2. It's ok to drive the speed limit. Many people tie their egos to how fast they can drive. Release this feeling using The Sedona Method, and accept the fact that driving the speed limit is not only safer, it's cheaper (for every 5 mph you drive above 55, you can lose up to 10 percent of your fuel economy, according to experts).
    3. Sometimes it’s better to walk. Or take your bike. Stop resisting alternative methods of transportation and instead embrace the simplicity of walking to the store or bus stop.
    4. Driving is not a good outlet for anger. If you’re upset, step away from the vehicle. Do some releasing, let go of your anger, then try it again. Not only will you surely drive aggressively when angry, wasting fuel, but you could end up getting in an accident.
    5. Remember your objective. You're trying to save money on fuel, so let go of your old fuel-wasting habits. Focus instead on fuel-friendly techniques like using cruise control when you're going over 70 mph, avoiding routes with big hills and staying out of stop-and-go traffic.
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