When it comes to real estate investing, “Driving for Dollars” refers to the practice of driving around neighborhoods, searching for potential property deals. Just like any other form of driving, it consumes fuel.
With increasing gas prices and the environmental implications of excess fuel consumption, there’s a strong incentive for investors to maximize fuel efficiency.
This article delves into actionable strategies to enhance your car’s fuel efficiency while ensuring you get the best out of your property scouting trips.
Table of Contents
1. Proper Vehicle Maintenance
Just as we need regular check-ups for our well-being, our vehicles require consistent maintenance. Regularly servicing your car ensures that all parts are in optimal working condition. Clean air filters, for instance, can improve fuel efficiency by up to 10%.
Under-inflated tires increase resistance, causing your engine to work harder and burn more fuel. It’s essential to check tire pressure at least once a month and keep them inflated to the recommended levels.
While it’s tempting to keep the A/C on during those hot summer drives, it puts an extra load on the engine. Using it judiciously or at lower settings can help save fuel.
2. Efficient Driving Techniques
- Accelerate Smoothly
Rapid acceleration and braking can reduce your fuel efficiency by up to 33% on highways and 5% in town. Always accelerate gently and anticipate the road ahead to avoid unnecessary braking.
- Avoid Idling
If you’re stopping for more than a minute, it’s more fuel-efficient to turn off the engine and restart it when you’re ready to move. Modern vehicles are designed for stop-start conditions, making this practice perfectly safe.
- Utilize Cruise Control
On long stretches, using cruise control helps maintain a constant speed, which, in turn, can improve fuel efficiency.
3. Planning and Route Optimization
Before embarking on your property scouting journey, take some time to research the areas you want to visit. This way, you can cluster properties near each other, minimizing driving distances.
Tools like Google Maps or Waze can suggest the quickest routes, avoiding traffic congestion which can result in unnecessary idling and stop-and-go situations.
If you’ve identified multiple properties in one area, try to visit them in a single trip rather than multiple trips over different days.
4. Consider Alternative Modes of Transportation
Opt for Smaller, More Fuel-Efficient Vehicles: If you typically drive a larger vehicle, consider opting for a smaller, fuel-efficient car for your scouting trips. This could mean substantial savings in fuel costs over time.
Hybrid and Electric Vehicles: Hybrid vehicles combine the benefits of gasoline engines with electric motors, often resulting in greater fuel efficiency. Electric vehicles, while having a different cost structure, can result in significant fuel savings.
Biking or Walking: For shorter distances, or when scouting properties in densely packed urban areas, consider biking or walking. Not only does this save on fuel, but it gives a closer, street-level perspective of the area.
5. Lighten Your Load
Every additional pound in your vehicle demands more energy to move. Ensure you aren’t carrying unnecessary items in your trunk or back seat, especially heavy tools or equipment that aren’t required for your property scouting trips.
While roof racks can be beneficial for carrying additional items, they can create significant aerodynamic drag, drastically reducing fuel efficiency. Remove them when not in use. If carrying items, opt for a streamlined cargo box that is more aerodynamic than open racks.
Using the compartments inside your car efficiently can distribute weight evenly, ensuring that the vehicle doesn’t overwork due to imbalanced loads.
6. Optimize Fuel Choices
Regular vs. Premium: Know what kind of fuel your car needs. Filling up a car designed for regular gas with premium won’t boost performance or fuel efficiency but will burn a hole in your pocket.
Utilize apps like GasBuddy or Fuelly to find the cheapest gas stations near your location. This way, you save money, and if planned correctly, can reduce the need for extra driving by looking for gas stations.
Some fuel additives on the market claim to improve fuel efficiency. While results vary, it’s worth researching and testing credible products that might benefit your specific vehicle model.
7. Educate and Update Yourself Regularly
The automotive industry is ever-evolving. Newer models, technological advancements, or changes in fuel formulations can influence how you maintain and drive your vehicle. Keeping yourself informed ensures you’re always implementing the most current best practices.
Forums or online communities of like-minded individuals can be treasure troves of knowledge. Members often share tips, experiences, and updates that can help you adapt and adopt new fuel-efficient practices.
Consider taking an advanced driver’s training course focused on fuel-efficient driving. Such courses can equip you with techniques that aren’t just about saving fuel but also about driving safely.
Driving for dollars is a strategic approach in real estate investment. As you spend considerable time on the road, fuel efficiency becomes paramount. Whether it’s maintaining your vehicle, tweaking your driving habits, planning optimal routes, exploring alternative transportation, lightening your vehicle’s load, making informed fuel choices, or continuously educating yourself – each step contributes significantly to fuel savings. Adopting these practices won’t only benefit your pocket but also the environment, ensuring that your investment journey is both profitable and sustainable. Stay informed, drive smart, and ensure that every dollar spent on fuel brings you closer to the next big property deal.