Higher gas prices are forcing
many to find ways of saving money -- especially college
By Emil Dixon
May 4, 2006 | In recent weeks, the price of crude
oil has risen to more than $72 a barrel, resulting in
higher gas prices across the nation. Even in Cache Valley,
analysts predict the cost of gas to increase to $3 a
gallon by the peak of summer, leaving many people looking
for extra cash.
Dustin Deason, from Louisburg, Kan., said he has absorbed
the extra gas costs by finding ways to save money on
his monthly utilities bills.
"I talked with my roommates and got them to turn off
the lights and shut the door once in awhile," he said.
"Now I can kind of afford to eat and don't have to ride
my scooter to school in the rain."
According to the U.S. Department
of Energy, the average U.S. consumer spends more
than $1,600 a year on utility bills, but can save up
to 25 percent of that amount by using the department's
The department's website encourages consumers to use
a whole home (or apartment) approach. Specifically,
it recommends consumers focus on all of the little things
in their home that use energy. For example, plug TVs
and DVD players into power strips that can be turned
off when they aren't in use, because even in standby
mode the units use power that can add up each month.
From a real-world approach, Cheryl Taylor, from Kennewick,
Wash., said she thinks the best way to save money on
utility bills is to keep the thermostat around 65 degrees.
"I keep a couple of extra blankets on my bed and wear
a sweater around the house, but it saves me a lot of
money," she said.
According to Queststargas.com, Taylor's tip is a good one. The
website recommends consumers use an electric thermostat
that will keep the house cooler when they are gone,
and then automatically heat up when they come home.
Further, the website lists some general energy-saving
- Setting your water heater at 120 degrees or turning
the dial from high to medium
- Running clothes- and dishwashers with full loads
- Taking showers instead of baths, and
- Cleaning the dryer's lint screen between each load
In order to help consumers save money on their electricity
bills, Utah Power
- Using compact florescent light bulbs, which use
25 percent less energy and last 10 times as long as
typical incandescent bulbs
- Turning off the lights in unused rooms and using
lamps instead of overhead lighting
- Using a microwave or electric heater to cook food
instead of the oven, and
- Spacing food in the refrigerator evenly so that
it doesn't obstruct airflow
In addition to these techniques, Cheryl Perkins said
she reviews her utilities bills each month to identify
any cost changes. She said if she finds any positive
patterns between her bill and the previous month's activities,
she tries to repeat them.
"By keeping track every month, it makes me think before
I turn anything on," she said. "I ask myself whether
it's really worth the money. If not, I leave it off."
For more energy-saving tips review the websites above,
and consult with local utilities providers.