Rising Fuel Costs and Your DIY Move
Between March 2010 and March 2011, gas prices rose an average of $0.77 per gallon of unleaded fuel. Political issues in the middle east were driving factors behind these increases. While today's fuel costs aren't as high as they were back then you can still spend a lot of money on rental truck fuel.
In addition to the rising fuel costs, the spring and summer are the busiest times of the year for moving which means higher demand and prices for truck rentals, household freight, and storage. It's highly unlikely that any additional money spent on fuel will be recouped elsewhere within your moving budget due to the rise in prices for these items. Ultimately, cost savings will need to come from unexpected areas such as reduced costs for packing materials and higher MPGs from smart and efficient driving. We've outlined several cost-saving tips for your do-it-yourself move that will help you cut costs, reduce waste and move efficiently.
- The smallest rental trucks only get 10-12 MPG and the larger diesel trucks get significantly less (find the average MPG for your moving truck). You can increase your fuel economy by choosing a company that provides well-maintained trucks that are less than five years old. Penske Truck Rental generally provides the highest quality rental trucks followed by Budget Truck Rental
- When possible, choose a corporate location for your truck pickup. These locations tend to have the best available fleet and are much more customer-oriented. If you're going 1,000 miles or more you should speak with the manager and specifically ask for a newer truck
- You've likely noticed that many gas stations these days charge 2-4 cents more per gallon when you use a credit card. The same concept applies to diesel fuel except it is usually a much higher cost, sometimes 10 cents or more. If you are driving a larger rental truck that requires diesel fuel you should pay with cash when possible to reduce your fuel-related expenses
- Although the larger trucks maintain a relatively constant MPG, the smaller trucks (10', 12' and 16') will fluctuate depending on the driving conditions and how you drive. Minor changes to your driving habits can save you money at the pump
- Gas prices can vary quite a bit, so be sure to look for the cheapest price by using an app like Gas Buddy
Cutting costs at the pump isn't the only way to achieve savings during your move. One big-ticket item that you can eliminate (in most cases) is wardrobe boxes. You will typically see these boxes for sale at prices upwards of $20 per box! For many of us, wardrobe boxes are not just unnecessary but a huge waste of space. Instead of wardrobe boxes consider this: (or watch our video tutorial) Bunch 15-20 items together, then rubber band or zip tie the base of the hangars. Next, cut a small hole in the bottom of the trash bag and then place the trash bag over the clothes (open side is facing down). Slip the hangars through the hole you made and then tie the bottom of the trash bag, voila! Your clothes are now protected, you've saved money and reduced waste.
Although wardrobe boxes may not be necessary other packing materials will be. You can save a ton of money by looking for used boxes around town. Check out our top places to get free moving boxes and 6 places to get free moving boxes guides to know where you can find used boxes.