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Shift points: Changing attitudes on vehicles and driving

January 09, 2009

? Fewer trips to the gas station: If you need to fill up, fill up all the way. The more money you try to save by adding $10 today and then $20 tomorrow will be wasted since each time you will have to travel to the station and wait for a pump. Instead, do it all at once to save time and money.

? Crude reminder: Advocates of energy conservation and renewable fuels may be the only ones in America looking back nostalgically on the days of $4-a-gallon gasoline. Some gas stations in the United States reported prices at $1.59 a gallon, a far cry from $4 this summer, and resulting in some dealerships seeing a rise again in big sport-utility sales. Here we go again?

? Back off the bling: Giant wheels and tires might look cool and they can certainly improve handling. But if they are wider and heavier than the stock tires, chances are they'll create more rolling resistance and require more power (gas) to make them roll.

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? Crude reminder: There appears to be at least one bit of silver lining to the economic downturn: lower gas prices. Crude oil futures fell to just $43.67, the lowest per barrel price since January 2005. Moreover, many industry experts are predicting that crude oil could fall below $25 per barrel in the coming months. Compare that with $140 just a few months ago.

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