Wednesday, June 11, 2008

It Is What It Is ... How to Conserve Gas

Someone needs a cyber hug. I think we're all feeling the squeeze. At least we don't have to suffer alone.

And someone needs a Happy Birthday hug. Sorry, didn't mean to bury that post. :-)

Finally, the title is Erica Orloff's saying. I'm just stealing it because I love it. I'm saying it all the time now.

It seems it applies to the price of gas. So until we come up with better alternatives (corn gas isn't going to cut it; it's hardly cheaper), it is what it is.

My biggest hope lies in solar-powered cars.  They're hitting the streets in Taiwan and supposedly they go up to 44 mph. I can deal with 44 mph if I get to not pay for gas. And the sun? They can't charge us for the sun. And solar technology these days can charge through clouds. The trick is for it to be able to charge as you drive ...

And, funny, it's at $24,000. Doable, not bad, but a year ago, before the dollar fell, we could buy it for $8,000. HUGE difference. That's our economy for you.

In the meantime, I've been researching ways to save gas. A lot of them don't make much difference, maybe pennies per fill-up. These four amount to HUGE savings:

  1. Slow Down! There's a reason why, in the 70s, they lowered the national speed limit to 55 mph: it saves gas. A TON more than I thought it did. Around twenty cents per gallon for every 5 mph. So if I go 55 instead of 70 on the highway? I save around 60 cents per gallon and about $8 per fill-up

    Check out SlowDownToSaveGas for a handy-dandy calculator to figure out how much you can save.

    Bonus: Driving 55mph has been proven to cause fewer accidents. When I first started going 55mph, everyone zoomed by. You know what? More people are doing it with me now, even in a 65 mph zone.
  2. Cruise Control: The gas pedal means every time I press down the pedal, I use up gas. I am now obsessed with keeping my foot off that pedal. The cruise control does a better job than my human foot of conserving gas by keeping a steady pace.
  3. Coast: Along with keeping my foot off the gas, I now coast into stop lights. Instead of using gas and then braking close to the last minute, I now take my foot off the gas pedal about a quarter mile - half mile beforehand and coast to a stop.
  4. Speed Up Slowly: It takes less pedal to the metal to speed up slowly than it does to speed up fast. We gotta stay off the gas pedal. :-)

Well, that's all I have. I'm crossing my fingers for the solar-powered car. If you only do town driving, then building your own solar-powered car is rather cheap.

And is water fuel for real?

19 bonus scribbles:

Travis Erwin 6/11/2008 02:17:00 PM  

Great tips and if I had the time I'd love to build my own solar car.

Susan Helene Gottfried 6/11/2008 04:49:00 PM  

I'm still all about the bike riding idea. If I rode my bike more than I do now, I could eat ANYthing I want. WHENever I want.

The only gas I'd be using up... yeah. Not going there. We all know if I could eat anything, anytime, it'd be chocolate out the wazoo.

Robin 6/11/2008 08:58:00 PM  

I'm with Susan. I dig the biking idea. I've been trying to bike places whenever possible. My friends keep telling me I'm going to be killed. Where have all the bike riders gone?
I haven't been great about conserving gas, but I've stopped buying bottled water! Hey - it's a start!

spyscribbler 6/11/2008 09:14:00 PM  

Wouldn't that be cool, Travis? The kit car only goes up to 22 mph, I think, though. But it'll get you around!

spyscribbler 6/11/2008 09:15:00 PM  

Susan, that's a great idea! My bike is rusted, but I could conceivably fix it up. I'm so out of shape since the whole foot thing. Two years! Sheesh. I don't think I could make it to the next town. But I could work up to it!

spyscribbler 6/11/2008 09:15:00 PM  

Robin, it's true! Although, they did just build a bike path in the next town. :-)

I'm down to gallon water. It's a step up from bottled water, right?

Aimless Writer 6/11/2008 10:07:00 PM  

Just stopping by to say hi. Great post. They lowered all the speed limits on the parkway and turnpikes here to 55 a couple of months ago. Most seem to adhere to it which is a good thing.

thanks for the hug.

Jennifer McKenzie 6/11/2008 10:13:00 PM  

Thanks Spy Scribbler. I sure needed all the hugs I could get today.
And I WILL slow down. Today, we walked to the store rather than drive.
Love the ideas.

Edie 6/11/2008 10:26:00 PM  

I live in a rural area, so biking isn't feasible. I will slow down, though. I would like one of the solar cars. A great idea!

Ello 6/12/2008 12:16:00 AM  

Great tips! and I would love a solar powered car! Please someone invent it already!!!! how about a wind powered car? I'm game for anything but gas!!

StarvingWriteNow 6/12/2008 06:50:00 AM  

Well, I'm nowhere near a solar car, but I did purchase solar lights for my walkway and am considering replacing my outside house lights with solar as well. Son asked me the other day what I would do if I won the lottery. I said: "Convert the house to solar."

I've been trying to bike to work as well, as much as I can--not only saving wear and tear on my car, but my clothes are starting to fit better too!

The Dark Scribe 6/12/2008 12:35:00 PM  

If I had the patience, I'd slow down. But I've got other things I'd rather do than sit in traffic. Still, around town I don't accelerate as fast, and I try to avoid the brakes if I can.

The only problem with an H2O-powered car is that we're also running out of water. What they should do is figure out a way to turn the salt from our oceans into an energy source. That would solve both problems.

LaDonna 6/12/2008 01:23:00 PM  

Spy, great post! I wish they'd use all the tech knowledge they have available, but not sharing, to solve the earth's crisis now, but that would take away from the rich guys. I'm more conscious of my water use, and we switched our bulbs to the new ones. And I do use your method of saving gas while driving. Thanks for sharing some solutions!

spyscribbler 6/12/2008 01:58:00 PM  

Aimless, my opinion of New Jersey just doubled. No, tripled!

Jennifer, I wish I could walk! The foot. I think I actually hate the doctor who took all my money to not fix my foot.

spyscribbler 6/12/2008 01:59:00 PM  

Edie, I'm not sure biking is feasible for me, either. The only place I go is the next town over. (Banking and Borders.) It's a ten minute drive. It's doable on a bike, but ... I'm not at that fitness level yet!

spyscribbler 6/12/2008 02:00:00 PM  

Ello, I love the solar idea, too! It's invented; no waiting for it! We just have to get it over to the USA and make it go faster. :-)

spyscribbler 6/12/2008 02:00:00 PM  

Writenow, we want to do the RV thing, and our first priority is solar power. We're gonna be off-the-grid hippies!

(Well, not really, LOL.)

spyscribbler 6/12/2008 02:01:00 PM  

Dark Scribe, I think we need a new planet. We're using up this one. We better get working on a better space shuttle.

spyscribbler 6/12/2008 02:03:00 PM  

LaDonna, so true! So true, so true, so true! It boils my blood that it's there, but not available because people who have a profit stake in oil are doing everything to prevent it. GRRRRR!