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Gas prices rising, time to conserve

Okay, so the headline is deceiving in that the time to conserve fuel  supplies has been around for a long time now and will not go away. But the point is, the major media coverage of rising gas prices, at least in my area, hasn't really begun to hit on conservation until now.

But the message is clear: Labor Day weekend is here, when prices traditionally rise to take profit from increased demand generated by the three-day weekend. Hurricane Katrina disrupts our already tight fuel supply. The federal stockpile has been tapped. Critical fuel pipelines are not operating. Prices are rising and there's no end in site.

See: http://news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&u=/usatoday/20050901/bs_usatoday/motoristsurgedtodrivelessasgassuppliesdrop

What can we do? The obvious response is to find ways of driving less.

  • Combine multiple errands into single trips whenever possible.
  • Anybody that can telecommute, ought to make a habit of doing so. It's always been a good idea, and the case for working from home is becoming more and more compelling with every penny increase at the pump.
  • Stay in! Instead of driving to the movies or to an amusement park, read a book, rent a movie at home, play boardgames, etc.  Warning: the side-effect for families might be increased bonding and enhanced relationships!
  • Carpool.
  • Short trips can be taken on foot or by riding your bike. Side effect: increased fitness and enjoyment of outdoors.

In situations where you can't drive less, optimize your driving:

  • In multiple-car families, swap cars so the most efficient car does most of the traveling.
  • Adjust your driving behaviors to maximize your car's fuel economy (see below)
  • Calibrate! Calculate the mileage you actually get under different test conditions. I've been able to determine just how to drive my car in order to get almost a 5 mile-per-gallon (highway) boost in fuel economy through careful measurement.
  • Keep your vehicle's maintenance up-to-date.

Recommended driving behaviours (Source: www.fueleconomy.gov)

  • Observe the Speed Limit: Gas mileage decreases rapidly at speeds above 60 mph.
  • Remove Excess Weight
  • Avoid Excessive Idling (zero miles per gallon!)
  • Use Cruise Control
  • Use Overdrive Gears
I highly recommend visiting the US Department of Energy Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Fuel Economy Site to learn more about how you can save money and protect the environment.

Posted on September 1, 2005 | Permalink | Tag this post with del.icio.us | This Post Now Lives Here


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