Saving Money At The Pump

gas pumpWith vacation season in full swing and traveling at it’s height, we thought we would share this blog from Monaco Ford, they did a great job explaining various ways you can save money at the pump.

Blog originally posted on

When it comes to your car, make sure to set the car tires to the proper inflation. Properly inflated tires can reduce fuel consumption by up to 3 percent.

You will also want to tune up the engine. A properly tuned engine maximizes power and can greatly enhance fuel efficiency.

Select the narrowest possible tires for your vehicle that will satisfy your driving style and demands. Narrow tires have less frontal area, thus reducing aerodynamic drag. You may also want to choose low-rolling-resistance compound tires. These can increase fuel economy by a few percent.

Check the condition of your engine air filter. A dirty filter will reduce fuel economy, or make the engine stall when idling. You also want to replace the fuel filter according to the car manufacturer’s recommended schedule.

Lightening your load can also help to increase your mileage. Get the lightest car that will serve your needs. If seats that you don’t use can be removed, take them out. If you use your trunk as a storage space for heavy things, find another place for them.

On fuel-injected cars, make sure the oxygen sensors, engine emissions system, and evaporative emissions control systems are in good shape. When getting your oil changed, use a synthetic oil additive to either natural or synthetic oil. This can increase your gas mileage if you follow the manufacturer’s instructions and recommended usage.

When you fill up with gas, fill up halfway and try and keep your tank above one quarter full. If your fuel runs low, you could put stress on the fuel pump. Also, 10 gallons adds 60 pounds of weight.

At the gas station, buy quality fuel. No two fuels are the same and the cheaper brands can contain a higher percentage of ethanol, which burns at a faster rate.

Try to avoid using the air conditioner in stop-and-go city driving as it causes the engine to work hard and consume more fuel. However, studies show that at highway speeds cars get somewhat better mileage with the air conditioner on and the windows rolled up.

Monitor how hard your engine is working is key. Air conditioning, acceleration, and speed all affect work but these are not direct indicators. Try monitoring the revolutions per minute your engine is running at.

Some of your driving habits can also impact your gas mileage.

Use cruise control to maintain a constant speed, and slow down. The faster you move, the harder your engine has to work to push through the wind. Speeding can reduce fuel efficiency by up to 33 percent.

When accelerating, do it smoothly and with a moderate throttle. You also want to avoid braking wherever possible. Braking wastes energy from fuel that you have already burned, and accelerating after braking consumes more fuel than driving at a constant speed.

Another thing to avoid is excessive idling. Idling a vehicle wastes a significant amount of fuel. Generally, if you can avoid 10 seconds of idling, you will save gas by turning the engine off and restarting.

Find your car’s “sweet speed.” Some cars get better mileage at specific speeds, usually at 50 miles per hour.

If your car has an automatic transmission with overdrive, make sure you enable overdrive except when towing very heavy trailers.

Select a gear ratio that is appropriate to your engine, transmission, and driving conditions. If you travel on the highway often and do not carry heavy loads, try a numerically lower final drive ratio.

Watching and predicting traffic signals can also help. Stop-and-go driving is wasteful. Don’t circle in a parking lot – creeping and accelerating. Look for a spot in the empty half of the parking lot.

Maintaining a safe following distance will also help you increase your gas mileage. You will brake more and accelerate more to keep that unnecessary and dangerous narrow gap.

Planning ahead will also help.

If you plan your trips and try to accomplish multiple things with each, it will help. It won’t increase your fuel mileage, but it will help you drive less.

You’ll also want to plan your route carefully. Take the route with the fewest stops, turns, and traffic. Take the highway when possible.
These tips will hopefully help you save a few dollars on gas while traveling this season.

Penny Hanley & Howley Insurance

Protecting YOU is our Job


Brush Up On Your Motorcycle Safety

motorcycle safetyIt’s prime riding season, so we wanted to give you a reminder on some good safety points for experienced and new riders.  Read these great tips Safeco.

Be Prepared. Be Protected.

You’re no kid and that’s no 10-speed. To stay safe, you need complete command of your motorcycle and the best safety gear you can get. Next time you’re heading for the highway, keep in mind these helpful motorcycle safety tips.

Use Safety Gear

Your motorcycle insurance policy through Safeco covers up to $3,000 in custom parts and equipment. Any time you buy new leathers or safety equipment or customize your bike, contact your local Safeco agent so we can update your limits.

Wear a Helmet

A motorcycle rider not wearing a helmet is 40 percent more likely to sustain a fatal head injury in a crash than a rider without a helmet.* A National Highway Traffic Safety Administration study reports that “helmets saved 1,483 motorcyclists’ lives in 2009, and that 732 more could have been saved if all motorcyclists had worn helmets.”* Buy a full-face helmet for the best protection for your head and eyes. Wear other protective gear as well: heavy leather or synthetic gloves, long pants and jacket, and over-the-ankle leather boots.

Be Visible

In a crash, the SUV wins. When cars and motorcycles collide, it’s usually because the driver of the car failed to see the cyclist. With more SUVs on the road, it’s even more critical to take extra steps to become more visible. Use your headlamps—both night and day—and wear yellow, red or orange jackets to make yourself easier to see. Make a point of positioning yourself in your lane for visibility.

Take a Safe Riding Course

One out of four motorcycle drivers involved in fatal crashes in 2009 were driving with invalid licenses.* More than 90 percent of riders involved in accidents haven’t taken a formal motorcycle driving course. Get to know your bikes capabilities, like how it performs on a curve or slick roads, and you’ll become a much safer rider. Errors like over-braking, driving too fast and under-cornering are major factors in most solo mishaps.

You can also get discounts on your insurance with a Motorcycle Safety Foundation safe riding course or are active in one of 24 approved groups that promote safe riding. Do both and you could save up to 15 percent.

Ride Sober

Driving impaired is more deadly for cyclers than other drivers. In fact, more than half of all motorcycle deaths occur when the rider has been drinking.

Remember for all your motorcycle insurance needs give Penny Hanley & Howley Insurance a call.

Protecting YOU is our Job

source info: Safeco


Making Your Home or Apartment Eco-Friendly

making your home eco-friendlyWhether you live in an apartment or house there are many ways you can be environmentally-conscious.  Simple affordable changes to your daily routine and living space will make a big difference.  The way you decorate your home or apartment can impact your carbon footprint.

Take a look at these simple tips to turn your home or apartment into a green living space.

Sustainable Materials

Using sustainable materials can both improve the look of your living space as well as bring you closer to your eco-friendly goals.  Recycled materials such as bamboo along with soy-based products can make your home “greener”. Other eco-friendly materials include Teak, 100 percent cotton and wool, which are environmentally friendly. Many times you can find these products at local thrift shops or boutiques right in your home town.


You can illuminate your living space with light fixtures that are energy efficient and made with recycled goods, such as glass bottles.  Upcycling is an awesome trend that’s here to stay.  Taking old materials and transforming them into something new and decorative.


When choosing to paint your home or apartment, look for non-toxic paints.  Look for paints with zero VOC or low VOC on the label. VOC’s are volatile organic compounds that are not safe to breathe in.  Choosing either of these types of paints will ensure you continue to make your home or apartment eco-friendly.


Looking to give a facelift to your kitchen your bathroom?  Consider adding an eco-friendly touch such as bamboo.  A bamboo mat in your bathroom not only looks nice, but is durable and water resistant. Add some color to your space with organic cotton throw pillows.  You could even be creative and make decorative items using wine corks.

Going green will not only guarantee long lasting pieces but it won’t break the bank.

For all your home and apartment insurance needs contact Penny Hanley & Howley Insurance.

Protecting YOU is our Job



3 Main Ways Lightning Enters Homes & Buildings

lightning safety for your homeWith the recent severe weather we’ve had in the last couple days, we thought it would be worth sharing this information from a recent article on the weather channel about Lightning Safety Tips.

A house or other substantial building offers the best protection from lightning. In assessing the safety provided by a particular structure, it is more important to consider what happens if the structure gets struck by lightning, rather than whether the structure will be hit by lightning. For a shelter to provide protection from lightning, it must contain a mechanism for conducting the electrical current from the point of contact to the ground.

These mechanisms may be on the outside of the structure, may be contained within the walls of the structure, or may be a combination of the two. On the outside, lightning can travel along the outer shell of the building or may follow metal gutters and downspouts to the ground. Inside a structure, lightning can follow conductors such as the electrical wiring, plumbing, and telephone lines to the ground.

Avoid unsafe shelters

Unless specifically designed to be lightning safe, small structures do little, if anything, to protect occupants from lightning. Many small open shelters on athletic fields, golf courses, parks, roadside picnic areas, schoolyards and elsewhere are designed to protect people from rain and sun, but not lightning. A shelter that does not contain plumbing or wiring throughout, or some other mechanism for grounding from the roof to ground is not safe. Small wooden, vinyl, or metal sheds offer little or no protection from lightning and should be avoided during thunderstorms.

How lightning enters a house or building

There are three main ways lightning enters homes and buildings: (1) a direct strike, (2) through wires or pipes that extend outside the structure, and (3) through the ground. Regardless of the method of entrance, once in a structure, the lightning can travel through the electrical, phone, plumbing, and radio/television reception systems. Lightning can also travel through any metal wires or bars in concrete walls or flooring.

Summary of lightning safety tips for inside the home

  • Avoid contact with corded phones
  • Avoid contact with electrical equipment or cords. If you plan to unplug any electronic equipment, do so well before the storm arrives.
  • Avoid contact with plumbing. Do not wash your hands, do not take a shower, do not wash dishes, and do not do laundry.
  • Stay away from windows and doors, and stay off porches.
  • Do not lie on concrete floors and do not lean against concrete walls.

You can read the whole article here from the Weather Channel.

Penny Hanley & Howley Insurance

Protecting YOU is our Job



Cognitive Distraction While Driving

safety of voice command in carAccording to a recent study conducted by the University of Utah for the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, using hands-free technologies to talk, text or send email while driving is not as safe as many have believed. Driver distraction from secondary in-vehicle activities is increasingly recognized as a significant source of injuries and fatalities on the roadway.

Researches of the study measured brainwaves, eye movement and other metrics to assess what happens to a drives mental workload when they are multitasking. During the study they tested in-vehicle activities such as listening to the radio, audio book, having a conversation on a hands-free device vs. hand-held devise, speech-to-text and passenger.

They categorized the cognitive distraction from levels 1 through 5.

  • Listening to the radio or a book on tape feel in to a Category-1 level of distraction
  • A passenger in the vehicle or speaking with a friend over the phone was a Category-2 level of distraction
  • Speech-to-text was considered a Category-3 level of distraction

The research found that as mental workload and distractions increase, reaction time slows, brain function is compromised, drivers scan the road less and miss visual cues.

With the current trend towards more voice command in vehicles, the Category-3 level of cognitive distraction is troubling. Car manufacturers are presenting customers with a variety of options in their vehicles.  Such as making movie or dinner reservations, send and receiving text or email and posting on Facebook.  The research suggest that such voice-based interactions are not risk-free and can in some cases rise to a level of distraction associated with drunk driving.  The study suggests that the adoption of voice-based systems in the vehicle may have unintended consequences that adversely affect traffic safety.

The best thing we all can take from this study is to always keep our eyes on the road and avoid distractions that may keep us from focusing on our driving.

What are your thoughts on this study?  Do you think voice-based systems in vehicles are safer or cause more distraction to the driver?

Penny Hanley & Howley Insurance




7 Brilliant Hacks For Your Home Or Apartment

We all love great hacks that make our life a little easier.  Whether its saving space in your home, or finding a new convenient way to organize things.  Here are seven you’ve probably never considered and once you’ve seen them you’ll think, “How Come I didn’t think of that?”

1.Velcro remotes to your coffee table.  Sounds funny doesn’t it.  But how many times have you spent several minutes trying to find your t.v. remotes? They get lost in the couch cushions.  Not only does this save clutter on the coffee table, but you’ll know where they are at all times.

7 brilliant hacks for your home


2. Power strip in a drawer. Adding a power strip to your drawer will help you keep all your electronics charging in a nice neat area and out of sight.  It’s as simple as drilling a small hole in the back of your drawer, then pull the power strip through the back. It helps to leave the drawer cracked when charging to allow some air circulation inside.

7 hacks to make your life easy

3. Wine holder doubles as a towel rack.  This is pretty cool trick I’d say.  Any easy way to keep your bathroom towels organized.  Doesn’t take up a lot of space and looks nice.

7 hacks to make your life easy


4. Soda tabs on your hangers.  Sounds strange right?  But if you add a soda tab (which we all have plenty of that we just throw away) to your hanger, you can hang a second garment of it.  Now you are fitting more clothes in the closet and saving space.

7 hacks for your life

5. Bread tabs.  This is a great idea and so easy to do.  Use bread tabs as labels for your cords.  Attach them to each of your t.v., dvd, stereo and computer cords and label them.  This keeps them organized and easy to recognize which cord is which without guessing.

7 hacks to make your life easy

6. Put your phone in a cup.  Sounds strange already, right.  Well if you use your phone as your alarm or to listen to music and don’t have speakers…this is the trick for you.  Placing your phone in a cup (empty of course) helps to amplify the sound.  Give it a try next time and see if it works for you.

7 hacks to make your life easy

7. Ice removes furniture indentations.  Who really thinks of putting ice on your rug.  In this case it will actually help remove those indentations in the rug from furniture.  We all like to move furniture around for a change, but those indentations left behind can be annoying.  Place the ice in the area of the indentation, let it melt, vacuum over it and work the indentation out by rubbing with a towel.  Give it shot, what do you have to lose.

7 hacks to make your life easy

Hope these handy hacks will be helpful for you in your home or apartment.

Photos courtesy of Apartment Guide



Saving at the pump on your next vacation

save money on vacationVacation season is here. Thousand of people will be hitting the road this summer to reach their vacation getaway. With Summer also comes the increase in gas prices. So here are some great tips on how to save money on gas with your next road trip.

1. Go online or on our smartphone to find gas prices
We are on facebook, twitter and pinterest every day and hopefully our mobile app too, why not check out some of these great websites and apps to keep track of which gas stations in your area have the best prices. Here are two that are widely used.

2. Buy Gas On A Wednesday
According to “gas experts” gas prices tend to be their highest on weekends. If that is true, then Wednesdays would be the day of the week when prices would be at their lowest.

3. Rewards Programs
More and more grocery stores and other retail establishments are offering store discount cards. Investigate your grocery store to see if they offer one.  Many of these discount cards offer up to 20 cents off a gallon, which can add up to a lot of money saved over a period of time.

4. Cash or Credit

Paying with cash versus credit at many gas stations can save you as much as 10 cents a gallon.  Every penny helps.

5. Pump Your Own Gas

Seems like a no-brainer to us, but you would be surprised how many people would rather pay almost 20 cents more to have someone else pump their gas. If you can save that much pumping your own gas, seems like a good trade-off.

6. Renting a Hybrid Car
Consider renting a car for your trip.  If you have a larger SUV or Truck taking that on vacation may cost more in gas then the vacation itself.  Check out your local car rental agencies and see what they have for small hybrid cars available.  Not only will you save on gas, but you won’t put the miles on your car.  Always remember to get car rental insurance as well.

We hope these tips will be helpful in saving some money for next vacation.  Summer is here, so get out there explore and enjoy the open road.

Penny Hanley & Howley Insurance

Protecting YOU is our Job


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