Budget Hurting Fuel Prices – Can We Take More of It?


Coming from a place where we have learned and fought our way through surviving, making sure that our family is well fed, and keeping that budget tight for our expenses, we Filipinos are really what you call “madiskarte” especially in hard times. But, with the incoming barrages of the different catastrophes we have encountered since 2020, we inevitably ask ourselves – how much more can we take? And now that we are back to working in the office, another problem has yet to test our grit and adaptability while we reorient ourselves in the normal working life – rising fuel prices. In this article, we are going to talk about how to save gas mileage and the driving tips to save fuel.

In the Philippines, one of the main sources of energy is petrol and its products. Many individuals have started to invest in buying their own mode of transportation in the midst of the pandemic for the convenience of travelling from one place to another, as well as being safe in doing so. Others use this as their source of income as well with the continuous operation or our delivery service in the midst of the pandemic like Grab and Lalamove. Since our country doesn’t have enough sources of oil or fuel, what we can only do is to buy and import petrol from the international market. The wake of the war between Russia and Ukraine also made it harder globally to get the needed supply of crude oil since Russia is one of the major suppliers of this necessity. We are already experiencing the effects of this war with the rising prices of gasoline and diesel fuel, making it harder for everyone to afford transportation.

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Saving Fuel and Our Carbon Footprint

Even though the modern society almost completely relies on crude oil, the effect of its products is still making the world increase its temperature every year. By saving fuel and limiting our carbon footprint, we are helping, even if it’s a little, to make a difference by limiting the greenhouse gasses we produce contributing to global warming.

Britannica.com defined carbon footprint as the amount of emitted carbon dioxide (CO2) that is associated with the activities of individuals or entities such as buildings, corporations or countries. The amount of carbon emission that gets trapped in our atmosphere largely contributes to our changing climate or global warming. Big Pharmaceutical and Fuel companies are few of the industries that largely contributes to leaving a large amount of carbon footprint behind. When these fuel companies start to process crude oil, that is one of the main sources for gasoline or petrol, it emits large amounts of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and it would take years, or even decades, to be reduced.

What Does the War Have Anything to Do with Fuel?

Based on the data from the International Trade Administration, The Philippines imports various types of crude oil and around 85% of the mix was sourced from the Middle East and Russia. The remaining 15% was imported from ASEAN countries. This means that in the following months, we can only expect fuel prices to rise go higher making our monthly budget tighter.

When the war between the Russian Federation and Ukraine broke out, it has been foreseen that oil or fuel prices would go higher as there will be a disruption with the distribution of the supply. But it was never expected to have this increasing trend and amount within weeks of each other. Since almost everyone has their own car, or knows someone who owns a car, here are a few tips on saving your budget from gas consumption.

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Tips on Saving Your Budget from Gas Consumption

1. Memorize Your Checklist

Every time people go on vacation or travel for work, they can seek help on arranging their travel itineraries or do it on their own, by making sure to research all possible options and have a checklist of everything that needs to be done before even starting your engine.

List all the essential items inside your car for when problems occur. A properly inflated spare tire is one of the most important items in your list, a tool kit for replacing a car tire is the partner of this item. Next are jumper cables especially for cars with automatic transmission, always bring a flashlight and extra batteries to be ready even at night. First aid kits are always essential wherever you are so adding it also in your list is crucial. Lastly are a pair or reflective triangles for when you have problems on the road to increase your visibility to passing cars.

2. Check Your Tires

What does it have to do with saving fuel? Are your tires really that important to making your car efficient? It turns out that it is, tires contribute a lot to making your car run faster or slower. Soft tires make the engine work harder, therefore making your engine burn fuel faster.

Pounds per square inch (PSI) is the term used to measure the tires air pressure. Overtime your tire loses its air pressure depending if your vehicle is being used daily or not. There are a lot of factors that contributes to your tire losing its pressure such as there can be a damage to the wheel parts, damage to the tire like an embedded nail, bead damage, and also temperature change. With those factors mentioned, this can cause your tires to deflate and it will increase the chances of a blowout. It is important to always check that status of your tires to prevent accidents and unexpected replacements and repairs that costs more than maintaining it. And when your tires do not have the correct air pressure it needs, this will make the car engine work double time and consume more fuel.

3. Allot a Budget

We have different definitions of what a budget is. Now that we are trying to make ends meet and save for the future, our hands are tied by the conditions of the war and the pandemic. It has been hard for most of us to handle the different events that have happened since the start of 2020, from bad to worse, we are constantly being tested on how we should react and handle things.

Wikipedia defines budget as a financial plan for a defined period. This may include planned sales volume, revenues, cost and expenses. And in the midst of the pandemic, everyone became more conscious with budgeting their daily, weekly and monthly income. People tend to be more conscious on where they will spend their hard-earned money on. Do we spend it on splurging in another one of our food cravings? Will we be able to meet the next pay day when we buy those pair of shoes? With the increasing trend of the gas prices recently, it is hardly possible to stay within our budget and keep our current lifestyle from being as awesome at it was. Making sure that your expenses does not go beyond your income is a way of keeping your budget in line, and this is always true when it comes to fuel consumption.

First thing to do in allotting a budget for fuel is to know how much kilometers does it take you to go to your regular destination and back. Next is checking your car’s manual about the amount of fuel per kilometer does your car burn. Calculate the distance and the liters and you will get the amount of fuel you have to fill for about 2 weeks or a month. Allowing yourself to have this calculation will also make you better at planning your budget for the weeks to come before pay day arrives. Not only that, the practice of good budgeting gives you opportunities to save more. This will in turn let you be prepared for sudden repairs or replacements that can really mess your finances.

4. Maintain a Strict Schedule

For most individuals, their employer provides them a work schedule that they need to strictly follow. And with this schedule, we will be able to make certain adjustments in our budget to make sure that we won’t be surprised with the number of miles we have to travel to get to work. Depending on your location and distance to your workplace, you can either allot at least 1 to 2 hours of travel time, considering that major roads are heavily traffic during the morning and evening rush hour. And though it is nice to look into side streets that are less likely to be cramped with public transportation or delivery and cargo trucks, this will only allow our cars to consume more fuel. Because the more that you look for alternative routes that would basically make your trip longer, the more it is likely for your car to burn through your reserve by shifting into different gears especially on roads with speed bumps or multiple turns that will require to go into a lower gear.

5. Ensure That Your Car Is Serviced Regularly

Ensuring that your vehicle is properly maintained guarantees you of its dependability. The reliability of your car’s performance assures your safety – because properly maintained cars are less likely to give you trouble while on the road. This may also increase fuel efficiency since a good working engine and all of its parts will make sure that your car runs smoothly and the power generated by your engine does not go to waste. Making sure that your vehicle is properly maintained not only lets you save on fuel consumption but this also lets you save more from any unexpected repairs and replacements, now you can put that extra money back into your budget.

When was your car last serviced for an oil change? Have you had your brakes checked? Most of the repair shops in Manila offers discounted services for these packages that mainly checks the cars health. Luckily now, we also have what we call home services offered by different automobile shops like Rapide or Goodyear Servitek. Ensure that your car’s health is your utmost priority as this is the basis of an efficient car that adds up to its fuel efficiency. Always record the services and replacements done to your car so you have a background of what needs to be serviced in the years to come.

6. Avoid Unnecessary Weight in Your Car

There are lots of people who thinks their car is also their closet, storing all of their sports materials, clothing, and even stuff that they don’t need that much in the trunk or even the passenger seat of their vehicle. The overall weight of these items contributes to the total weight of the car that will in turn make it heavier. The heavier the load, the harder it is to move. The same goes with our vehicles. When you store loads of stuff in the trunk of your car, even if those are just little things, it will make it heavier than it needs to be. This will make your engine work harder to pull all of those pounds from a stopped position. Be mindful of the essential equipment you need in your car and get rid of the unnecessary ones that makes your load heavier.

Regularly clean your car and check all of the things stored in it especially in the trunk. Ensure that your kit for changing the tires will be there all the time. If you have extra pair of shoes in your car, limit it to at least 2 pairs for each trip. Clothes should be either worn or stored in your closet, unless of course if you will be using an extra pair for your workout session in the gym. Bags, office equipment, cameras and sports equipment shouldn’t be left inside the car if you aren’t going to use it in your destination. The combined weight of the things listed (or a lot more) will add up to what your car has to pull whenever you drive so be aware of these things. Always be mindful of what’s being left inside your car not only for your fuel efficiency, but for your safety as well.

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Written by Gene Llanes