Improve Your Financial Health, Reduce Stress and Help Save the Planet

Reading time: 4 – 6 minutes

With crude oil hitting a record high this week, gas prices here in the U.S. are soaring. According to CNN.com, the $100 fill-up has arrived in the United States.

Want to reduce your stress level, spend less money at the pump and do your part to help save the planet? Here’s one of the most simple yet effective tips that will accomplish all three: Slow Down.

Improve Your Financial Health: Use Less Gas

At highway speeds, wind resistance increases exponentially and fuel economy is reduced by approximately 4 miles per gallon for every 10 mile per hour increase [1]. Thus, the faster you drive, the more it will cost you. Consider this [1].

In a typical family sedan, every 10 miles per hour you drive over 60 is like the price of gasoline going up about 54 cents a gallon. That figure will be even higher for less fuel-efficient vehicles that go fewer miles on a gallon to start with.

slow downThat’s based on a $3.25 price per gallon, which is less than the current price of gas. So we’re talking more than 54 cents a gallon.

Additionally, if you do the math, speeding doesn’t save you anywhere near the time you might think it does. An average 30 mile commute traveling at 65 miles/hour takes 28 minutes, while that same trip at 80 miles/hour takes 23 minutes. You save a whole 5 minutes by driving 15 MPH faster.

How much money is that 5 minutes worth?

Reduce Stress and Stay Safe

Moderate levels of stress from a variety of sources, including other motorists, traffic congestion and roadway conditions, are common in everyday driving. However, driver stress has been shown to also be influenced by a combination of situational and personal factors, including factors external to the driving context [2].

Not surprisingly, studies have found that life stress is associated with higher rates of accidents and disease [3]. It’s been estimated that drivers who have experienced a recent stressful event are five times more likely to cause fatal accidents than unstressed drivers [4].

If you’re running late, remember that no matter how fast you drive, you’re still going to be late. If you’re under a great deal of personal stress, it’s probably best to avoid driving altogether.

Statistically, people who drive too fast cause or contribute to almost one-third of all fatal crashes. In 2006,13,543 lives were lost in speeding-related crashes [5]. Excessive speed does a number of things:

  • it increases the distance a vehicle travels when a driver reacts to a dangerous situation
  • it reduces a driver’s ability to steer safely around objects in the road
  • it extends the distance necessary to stop

Want to reduce your stress level, spend less money on gas and do your part to help save the planet?

Just Slow Down!

David over at The Good Human has some additional tips on saving money, saving fuel and saving the environment.

References

  1. Slow down a little, save a lot of gas. Issue #1: America’s Money. CNN Money. 2008 Mar 27.
  2. Hennessy et al. The Influence of Traffic Congestion, Daily Hassles, and Trait Stress Susceptibility on State Driver Stress: An Interactive Perspective. Journal of Applied Biobehavioral Research 5(2);162-179
    doi: 10.1111/j.1751-9861.2000.tb00072.x
  3. Stuart and Brown. The relationship of stress and coping ability to incidence of diseases and accidents. Journal of Psychosomatic Research, 25(4), 255-260. 1981.
    View abstract
  4. Brenner and Selzer. Risk of causing a fatal accident associated with alcoholism, psychopathology, and stress: further analysis of previous data. Behav Sci. 1969 Nov;14(6):490-5.
    View abstract
  5. Traffic Safety Facts 2006 Data. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration National Center for Statistics and Analysis. 2006.
About the Author

Walter Jessen is a senior writer for Highlight HEALTH Media.

Comments

  1. I’m all for anything that will do all three!

  2. There was an article on Yahoo this morning where OPEC said crude oil prices could reach $200 a barrel. I can only imagine how much panic and stress that would cause all over the country.

    Your idea of driving 80mph instead of 65mph does make sense because it’ll save you five minutes in your example, but that’s assuming you can actually drive up to 80mph. It would be even more difficult to drive faster on suburban roads.

  3. I carry a lot of photography equipment (and kids) and love my Honda Odyssey. It even has an “eco mode” that lights when I am driving the most efficiently. I no longer worry about the speed limit outside of staying legal (and safe). In Austin, I find that cruising at 61 instead of 65 actually makes a measurable difference. And at $60 a tankful, its a big difference.

  4. The oil price is getting crazy and ridiculous. If only the world is less dependent on oil. But I guess it can’t be help for the next 10 years or so.

    Yes, sometimes it’s stressful to be on road. Why not take more public transport? 🙂

  5. well biofuels are much easier to make than ethanol, and hybrids are less fuel efficient compared to volkswagen golf diesels. as bad as oil prices are, they are only going to get worse but that is soo profitable that it will never force them to change their ways.