Gas prices are spiking again, causing lots of angst and the occasional search for a real solution. Since this is such a personal matter to gearheads, we wanted authoritative considerations. These are Jalopnik readers' picks for the best ways to cope with increasingly nasty gas prices.
Quick note: Turns out that certain responses tended to show up repeatedly. We kept that in mind during the selection process and made a note about popularity of the responses, kind of as a census of how Jalopnik commenters were responding to the situation. It may not have much statistical weight, but as a bit of insight to the gearhead mind it's interesting. A rough call on popularity is included with each answer.
Welcome back to Answers of the Day — our daily Jalopnik feature where we take the best ten responses from the previous day's Question of the Day and shine it up to show off. It's by you and for you, the Jalopnik readers. Enjoy!
Photo Credit: Carlos E. Santa Maria/Shutterstock
10.) Keep Your Car Properly Maintained
Suggested By: WantToHoon
Popularity: A few mentions, but we wouldn't go long on AutoZone just right now.
Rationale: You should really be doing this stuff anyway, but no one denies the extra incentive of a few saved dollars in the process. Check your filters, air up your tires, keep your fluid replacement schedule up-to-date, maybe make a date with the alignment rack if the steering wheel is persistently off-center. The little things add up, especially at higher prices. And your car appreciates it.
Photo Credit: Robert Couse-Baker
9.) Move Closer To Work
Suggested By: QADude
Popularity: Very case-by-case.
Rationale: Definitely a way to cut your normal daily fuel usage, this is something of an extreme measure. At the same time, spending less time caught in the commuting grind also pays dividends on a quality-of-life front, too, so maybe it's time to chat up your local realtor. Feel free to make authoritative-sounding noises about whether the market has really bottomed; your chance of being right is about as good as anyone else's. You can also move jobs. Remember, the longer your commute the greater chances of a divorce.
Photo Credit: AP
8.) Public Transportation
Suggested By: Xander Crews, Proud of BOXER
Popularity: Marginal, dependent upon regional availability.
Rationale: The moral equivalent of a white flag, submitting yourself to the whims and moods of a city bus or subway will indeed insulate you from fluctuations in gas prices. At the same time, think about it: It costs more to do a round trip from any two points in New York City via the subway, a distance that rarely covers more than ten miles total, than to buy a gallon of gas.
Strictly as a commuting option it maybe makes some sense — do the math — but as a general means of getting around, life's too short for this.
Photo Credit: Stephen Rees
7.) Get An Old Gas-Sipping Econobox
Suggested By: SuperMacGuy
Rationale: This goes out to everyone who complains about how cars are too big and complicated and heavy and numb: now's your chance to further justify the purchase of some nimble older bantamweight. Small hatches and sedans from the Eighties regularly scored great mileage numbers while being fun to drive, if not exactly fast. Make sure you can live up to your own ideals first, though, and get a good prepurchase inspection.
Photo Credit: Daniel Means
6.) Get A Hybrid/EV
Suggested By: zacarious
Popularity: Turtle mode.
Rationale: Whether by design or because of conflicting engineering mandates, cars with electric motors in their drivelines have not been the most enthusiast-friendly proposition. As commuter cars they're great; that's the primary design intent, and take that as seriously as you should depending on your situation. But as far as driving fun goes, you may want to consider other options.
Photo Credit: flickrsquared
5.) Hypermiling Mods And Techniques
Suggested By: NevynPA
Popularity: Secrets of the inner circle.
Rationale: Gearheads love to plan modifications to their cars, and some actually go through with it. So how about putting some of that excess energy towards a bit of efficiency? Some tips and tricks carry over to more amusing sorts of driving, too: moderately overinflating tires (40-45psi) is the first rule in autocrossing preparation. Besides, wouldn't you love to be the first on your block with a homemade tail fairing?
Photo Credit: ecomodder.com
4.) Start Riding A Bicycle Again
Suggested By: Is that a rain coat?
Popularity: Pretty good for a bunch of motor junkies.
Rationale: It's not just for kids. When traveling short distances a bicycle remains one of humanity's great forms of transportation. Bike companies have recently reawakened to the importance of solid, practical everyday rides in addition to gnarly mountain bikes and screamingly fast roadracers (both of which can be heartstoppingly expensive), so it's a great time to get back into one the simpler side of the wheeled world.
And admit it: You need the exercise.
Suggested By: Turbineguy - Say hello to my pet dung beetle, Rocky
Popularity: Not overwhelming, but a few good mentions. Maybe would be higher if there were more choices. (Are you paying attention, manufacturers?)
Rationale: The low fuel consumption and increasingly excellent driving characteristics of Rudolf Diesel's brainchild have made oilburners perennially popular around the world. It's time the US market caught up. Even if a gallon of diesel is a bit more expensive than a gallon of gasoline, the reduced usage definitely benefits you in the end. If you're looking for something new soon, a modern diesel is definitely worth a test drive.
Photo Credit: VW USA
2.) Get A Motorcycle
Suggested By: Klic
Popularity: Pleasantly high.
Rationale: Bikes already have their significant charms for gearheads: ferocious acceleration, incredible sensory input, Chinese-takeout-grade ownership costs. They also get gas mileage that ranges from the impressive (40ish MPG for hardcore sportbikes) to the phenomenal (over 100 MPG on small-motor scooters). Invest in an MSF course and a good helmet and live it up.
If you're into extreme measures, do like commenter SantaRita did and get an electric motorcycle.
Photo Credit: pixelfever
1.) Live With It
Suggested By: minardi
Popularity: At least a simple majority of commenters. The overwhelming pick.
Rationale: Gas prices in and of themselves are like the weather: there's exactly zero that you can do about them. So buck it up, maybe buy cheaper beer for a while, and know that life goes on. A fair number of commenters gave fuel economy some weight the last time they bought something, so this is where that logic starts to show. But generally speaking, we're going to drive — and enjoy driving — come hell or high prices.
Photo Credit: Timo Newton-Syms