Thursday, September 6, 2007

Commuting Tactics and Gas Prices

After I get off the interstate on my way to work, I travel for about two
miles on "surface streets" that have two lanes going in each direction.
These roads have a speed limit of I guess 45 mph, and there are
stoplights at regular intervals.

Most drivers tend to want to go the same direction on the roads, as the
streets flow towards the interstate. I use these streets to parallel
the interstate to my place of work, as there are occasional traffic jams
I can avoid by exiting two miles earlier than my true exit.

Every day I am passed by a few cars who apparently like to accelerate
briskly and weave around people who are driving normally. Most of the
time, they end up stopped at a traffic light and I sneak up beside them
in the other lane and we wait together.

I thought it was common knowledge that accellerating and idling at
stoplights are big wasters of fuel that drag down your fuel economy.
Apparently this fact is lost on many Americans, as there is no shortage
of people like this who absolutely love speeding up as fast as they can
just to get to the next stoplight quicker than me.

I wonder if these people are among those who complain that gas prices
are too high.

One of the easiest things you can do to reduce the money you must spend
on gas is to drive smarter to use less gas. I have travelled almost 600
more miles this year than last year (January to August), yet have only
used about six more gallons of fuel over these stretches of time.

I have actually spent just about $2.00 more on gasoline over these
periods of time.

It bothers me to see in the media that people are "outraged" over gas
prices, yet daily I see them driving like price is no concern.

My conclusion is that gas prices still are not high enough for people to
actually change their driving habits. Sure, sales for smaller, more
fuel efficient cars is up, but I believe peoples' driving habits remain
the same.

I believe that if everybody just drove smarter, fuel use would plummet
dramatically. But in order to drive smartly, we all must be conscious
of our gas consumption, and in order for that to happen, gas prices need
to go up dramatically. It's not enough to switch to smaller and more
efficient vehicles is we're just going to continue driving like crazy
people.

The Mighty Corolla consistently beats the fuel economy on the window
sticker. It totally beats the "new ratings" as well. I doubt most
americans can say that.

Please drive smarter.

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