Rising Fuel Costs and Your DIY Move
Rising fuel costs are going to become a major factor for families planning on moving during the spring and summer of 2011. From March 4th, 2010 to March 4th, 2011 prices have risen an average of $0.77 per gallon of unleaded fuel, the majority of that price increase has been within the previous two weeks. Political issues in the middle east are driving factors behind these increases which historically will increase again during the peak driving season, summertime. What does this mean for individuals and families planning to move this summer? Much higher prices at the pump and a more expensive move than perhaps previously anticipated.
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 self service move that will help you cut costs, reduce waste and move efficiently.
- If you have opted for a rental truck and are moving long distance then you will want to do everything possible to improve your MPG's. Even the smallest rental truck (The U-Haul and Budget 10' truck) only gets 10-12 MPG, and the 24'-26' diesel trucks get significantly less, usually in the 4.5-6.5 range.
- Increase your fuel economy by choosing a company that provides well maintained trucks that are less than five years old. Penske Truck Rental provides the best 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 new 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 diesel rental truck (22', 24' or 26') 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. For more information on efficient driving techniques check out this guide.
- Assuming you have a smart phone or Internet access you can also check for the cheapest fuel in the area by checking out Gas Buddy.
- Cutting costs at the pump isn't the only way to achieve savings during your move. One big ticket item we come across often are wardrobe boxes. Even wholesale these boxes can range from $6.50 to $10, many retail locations will sell them for as much as $15. For many of us these wardrobe boxes are not just unnecessary but a huge waste of space. Instead of wardrobe boxes consider this: 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 likely will be. Instead of buying those supplies at U-Haul, Lowe's or another retail location consider a wholesaler. Many wholesale companies will sell to the public and almost every metropolitan area has one. The two largest companies are New Haven and Victory Packaging, although you should be able to find smaller local options by searching online.