Commentary: Gas Conservation Made Easy

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(Sacramento, CA)
Friday, May 5, 2006

Gas is expensive. We can't change that. But we can - adjust.

First the obvious - drive less. When or where possible, walk or bicycle. Take the train, the bus or light rail. Where there is no good public transit - and that's the case in too many places - share a ride, not just to the office but to school, the grocery store, and the soccer field.

When you do use your car, be efficient. Before turning the key in the ignition, plan. Write out a shopping list and pick up everything you need in one trip to the supermarket. Stop at the cleaners, the bank and the barber shop on the way.

Also, drive slower - keep your car well tuned, the tires properly inflated. All that junk in your trunk - dump it. Extra weight wastes gas.

Finally  - stop whining. Across the globe people pay far more for gasoline than we do. They treat oil like the precious, finite commodity it is.

Over the long run we need to redesign our communities so our homes are closer to where we shop and work. We need more fuel efficient cars and better transit. But we are resourceful people. We've shown we can conserve water and electricity when we have to. We can get by with a lot less gasoline, too.


Ginger Rutland writes for the Sacramento Bee Opinion pages.