With the average price of gasoline hovering around $2 per gallon nationally,
many consumers are feeling the pinch each time they reach for the pump. In a
new survey by Cambridge Consumer Credit Index, 56 percent of Americans say increased
gasoline prices are a “major concern” for their household budgets,
and 53 percent will be forced to make sacrifices by cutting back on other spending.
As with any financial challenge, this is an opportunity for credit unions to
assist their members with solutions that are simple … but often overlooked.
For instance, normal vehicle maintenance and paying attention to driving styles
can help improve fuel efficiency as much as 30 percent.
The automotive experts at Enterprise Car Sales, a division of Enterprise Rent-A-Car,
offer the following Top 10 tips for conserving fuel that credit unions can pass
along to members:
Get the lead (foot) out – Not only is driving faster
than the posted speed limit dangerous, it burns gas faster. Increasing highway
cruising speed from 55 mph to 75 mph increases fuel consumption by about 20
percent. So slowing down not only improves safety, it decreases trips to the
pump … and into the wallet or pocketbook.
Kill two (or three or four) birds with one stone – Consolidating
trips and errands to cut down on driving time, can eliminate hundreds of miles
– and dozens of gallons of gas. Combine trips to the dry cleaners, bank,
gym, grocery store, etc., in one trip.
Clean up the car – Everyone tends to tote a few extra
items in their vehicle. Take some time to empty the trunk, clean out the back
seat and remove the luggage rack. The lighter the vehicle, the better the fuel
Check the weather – Driving in heavy rain causes the
engine to work overtime. And on warm days, try not to use the air conditioner
on side streets and short trips. Using the air conditioner on a hot summer day
can increase fuel consumption by more than 20 percent in city driving.
Go shopping – As the gas tank hits the halfway mark,
begin observing area prices. Another option is to check the Internet; there
are a number of Web sites that report local gas prices. Check out www.gasbuddy.com
or www.gaspricewatch.com for
a free look at the best deals. Then, when it is time to fill up, pick the cheapest
local station. Driving a significant distance will end up costing more in the
Ease up – "Jack-rabbit" starts and hard braking
can increase fuel consumption by as much as 40 percent. Easing into starts and
stops is easier on the vehicle and safer for everyone on the road.
Idle no more – In both summer and winter, idling wastes
fuel. If you are going to stop for more than 10 seconds, except in traffic,
turn off the engine.
Pump it up – Check tire pressure at least once a month.
Under-inflated tires can cause increased rolling resistance and increase fuel
consumption by as much as 6 percent.
Hit the books – Check the owners manual regarding the
vehicle’s fuel requirements. Premium, high-octane fuels don't guarantee
better performance. In fact, such fuels don't provide any greater fuel efficiency.
Many automobiles are designed to use regular low-octane fuel. If your vehicle
doesn’t require premium or mid-grade fuel, buy the cheaper regular unleaded.
Think little – The most assured method of downsizing
the fuel bill is to use a smaller or more fuel-efficient vehicle. If your family
owns more than one automobile, choose the smaller one to run errands or make
the daily commute.
With gas prices expected to maintain their current levels, many credit union
members will likely consider trading their vehicles for a more fuel-efficient
model. One way of ensuring that these auto loans are secured by the credit union
is to partner with and refer members to Enterprise Car Sales.
“When members come to us our goal is to find a vehicle that meets their
individual needs and wants. Then we send them back to the credit union for the
loan,” said Stephen Nickelson, Assistant Vice President of Enterprise
Car Sales. “Partnering with Enterprise guarantees that the credit union
will get 100 percent of the loans 100 percent of the time.”
Enterprise Car Sales offers 160 different makes and models of quality, late-model
certified used vehicles. Each is priced below NADA or Kelley Blue Book value,
ensuring that every member receives a fair price without having to haggle. In
addition, each vehicle purchased comes with a:
- 12-month/12,000-mile limited warranty
- 109-point, ASE-certified inspection
- seven-day/1,000-mile repurchase policy
- one-year roadside assistance program provided by AAA Motor Club
Like the fuel conservations tips, working with Enterprise Car Sales is simple
and can increase a credit union’s auto loan volume.