Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Change your thinking, change the world

I wish the United States would lead the charge in innovative, sustainable energy. We could so change the world.

Chevrolet announced the unveiling of its electric car, the Volt (cute, huh?), which will be available in 2010. Of course, the gas-free, zero emission vehicle comes at a price tag of about $40,000.

It's a start, even with the hefty cost.

The line of thinking that we must drill everywhere we possibly can just isn't the right one. Even if we utilized all the oil and gas leases that are currently out there, oil and coal are finite substances. They just won't renew and thus, if we exhaust them, we'll be at this EXACT same spot down the road.

Why is it so difficult to move away from the destruction of our blessed mother earth and figure new ways to transport ourselves from point a to point b? With hybrid technology and electric vehicles, we should not be so dependent on oil.

The candidates in this year's election are making a big deal out of the viscous liquid. I just don't think drilling is the answer.

Even Bush's administration has admitted that, should we drill in the Arctic Wildlife Refuge, we'd only see a 4 cent per gallon decrease, and that would be around 2020.

That is unacceptable to me. Why bother assaulting the land, the animals and the seas just for a savings I can get with my Safeway card at the pump?

Some ways to help yourself in this energy quagmire we've found ourselves:

  • Pump It Up. Check your tire pressure. More than a quarter of all cars and nearly one-third of all SUVs, vans and pickups have under-inflated tires, according to a survey by the Department of Transportation. Properly inflating tires or buying low-rolling resistance tires could increase fuel economy by 3 percent or more.
  • Get in Tune. Take your car in for regular maintenance (check your owner's manual to find out how often your car needs a tune-up). Following the recommended maintenance schedule keeps your car running better and longer. A poorly tuned or poorly maintained engine can increase gasoline consumption by as much as 4 percent.
  • Use Good Motor Oil. Use the motor oil grade designed for your engine and choose a fuel-efficient oil marked with the "Energy Conserving" label by the American Petroleum Institute. Using a friction-reducing formula in the right grade can improve fuel economy by up to 2 percent.
  • Lighten the Load. Removing heavy items from your trunk and roof racks can improve fuel economy by 2 percent.
  • Slow It Down. Ease up on the pedal. Slowing down from 75 to 65 miles per hour will drop your highway gasoline consumption by about 15 percent. In town, avoiding rapid acceleration and aggressive driving can improve fuel economy by up to 5 percent.
  • Cut the Engine. If you're waiting to pick up a teenager or trapped in a huge traffic jam, turn off your engine. Across the country, idling cars waste millions of gallons of gasoline every day. If your wait is longer than 30 seconds, restarting the engine uses less gas than leaving it running.

Some day, Mother nature will shrug us off like a water from a wet dog. I just hope we don't badly damage her in the meantime.

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