Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Green Machine

Hurricane Katrina is the biggest natural disaster our nation has ever witnessed.. Whole towns have been wiped off the face of the Earth. Both living and dead are waiting in the remaining sea of debris as good samaritans and others work round the clock to save those able to be saved. Marshal law, looting, shooting, people starving, people dying, and babies being born... I can't stop watching, I can't stop listening. My entire newscast was based on everything happening in the aftermath of this hurricane. It seems like a far away third world country, but it's here, it's here in America, and it's just so devastating. It makes me think of last day prophecies and the Earth reeling to and fro. Many people around me have shared their theories. No one but God knows why this has happened.

Then there's the stuff that affects me directly, and the people around me. Gas prices. Just got back from the Provo Maverick on State Street. It was a very happenin' place tonight. Dozens of people were there to fill up before the prices went any higher. My roommate and I went together. A sign at the pump told customers that they were not hiking prices to profit off of the recent hurricane. Price: $2.69/gal, up 25 cents from yesterday. Lucky it wasn't more than that, and that there was a recently discovered big oil reserve in Southern Utah. But still, that's quite a bit to pay for gas, even with my roommates gas card. Still, we need our gas, right? We need to make our cars go. We need to drive...well, some of us, particulary in places like Provo where the public transportation is almost non-existent. But do we really need to drive as much as we do? Is it absolutely necessary? Time to face something experts have been telling us for years. We've got an addiction to oil, and we've got it bad. So, for all my friends, and all five of my loyal readers out there, I have compiled a list of helpful ways to cut down on gas consumption. This list is actually from a site about stretching your dollar, but I lost the link so I'm not posting it right now.

I would also like to say that together we, as good citizens of the United States of America, have the power to not only save our wallets and our Earth, but to simultaneously learn the virtue of frugality, get chummier with our neighbors in the carpool, and think up creative ways to petition our political representatives. God Bless America.

So, to put your car on a high loss diet, try the strategies below.

1. Make every trip count. Plan your errands around fixed ones and cut down on the number of trips you take. Plan your week in advance.

2. Car pool. Get together with your neighbors for shopping and picking up the kids (or friends, who sometimes are like kids).

3. Stay out of traffic jams. Listen to the radio and go in non-peak hours.

4. Walk. It is good exercise; don't drive two blocks to the nearest convenience store.

5. Buy a five-gallon gasoline can and fill it up when prices are low. Then use it when they get ridiculously high. (Make sure to check local hazardous storage rules.)

6.Use your cost per mile to figure out the cost of driving versus public transportation. Don't forget parking cost where applicable, and then take the bus when it's worth it. If your city (like mine) doesn't have adequate public transit, get political and make your voice heard.

7.Inflate your tires properly. Everybody tells you to do this, but so few of us do.

8. There are shopping deals to be had, but remember it's not a deal if it takes you miles out of your way.

9. Buy gas when the price goes down. It sounds simple, but most of us wait for it to keep going down. Don't wait until your tank is empty and you have no choice. If it's lower than your last fill up, top off your tank.

10. Car washes? Put on some shorts and do it yourself.

And don't forget to pat yourself on the back for cutting back on pollution!

2 comments:

mj said...

ok yeah i should be sleeping.

but on the way to work today i had to slam on my brakes cause all the sudden everyone had to stop and line up at the cheapest gas station on the block at $2.84/gallon. then--i might be crazy but i specifically remember it was not a big name place and i think it was the same place--on my way home from work the price was i think $3.18 or thereabouts. i was like 'holy economics batman.' supply and demand causing serious elasticity in price.

SJ said...

Ya, and whether they're admitting it or not, it's total price gouging. I'm following a story on this in Utah County. I actually got kicked out of the Maverick Country Story by the manager yesterday for asking questions about the price and if it will be going up. His back was turned to me when I asked and he didn't realize I was a reporter at first. I have him on tape as saying "Every day, every day it will be going up" and then he turned around, panicked and kicked me out of the store. Their sign on the pump reads they are not taking advantage of customers because of the recent hurricane.