Higher Gas Prices Equals Conservation?

The other day I drove to the North Springs Marta Station to meet my middle son who was catching the train from the Atlanta airport. We never go directly to the Atlanta airport because the traffic is always heavy and airport parking is expensive.

On the way to the Marta Station I had to navigate Georgia 400 which is known for heavy traffic on a multi lane highway. Driving in my Volvo 240 with the “be green” bumper sticker on the back window I had both hands firmly on the steering wheel. On 400 it starts as a 4 lane highway and lanes are added the closer you get to the Atlanta metro area.

I am known as a mindful driver who never exceeds the speed limit. On this trip I held a steady speed of 60-65 mph. I felt like my car was not even moving because everyone was zipping by me at 75 mph. Oh, the cheap gas makes Georgians feel that they can drive as fast as they want. Conservation is never thought about unless the price of gas rises above 4 dollars a gallon.

On ABC News the other night Charlie Gibson had a special called “Addicted to Oil”. He raised an interesting point that gasoline prices do not factor in the hidden costs of production. Such costs include the military (for fighting the gas wars in Iraqi and other places to protect our interests- cheap oil) and global warming.

Maybe such costs will be added in the future to reflect the true cost of a gallon of gasoline. If so, can you imagine how much we would be paying? Maybe 4 to 6 dollars a gallon. I bet those highway 400 drivers would slow down.

May is National EcoDriving Month

Celebrate National EcoDriving Month by Improving Your Driving Habits

During May, EcoDrivingUSA Encourages Americans to Become EcoDrivers

WASHINGTON, May 4 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — EcoDrivingUSA announced today that May is National EcoDriving Month, and the educational program, sponsored by the Auto Alliance, is encouraging all drivers to take simple steps to improve their fuel efficiency and reduce their carbon footprint. To mark the first EcoDriving month, the program is partnering with Indy Goes Green, sponsored by the racing team of Nelson Philippe. The program raises awareness about how to be an EcoDriver, and aims to be the first-ever carbon neutral Indy team.

“The key to EcoDriving is that anyone can do it, in any vehicle, and best of all, it’s easy,” said Dave McCurdy, president and CEO of the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers. “Now, as the summer driving season gets underway, EcoDriving month is the ideal time for each of us to renew our green driving habits.”

“In partnership with EcoDrivingUSA, we are raising awareness about how to become EcoDrivers,” Philippe said. “Race car drivers need to practice EcoDriving too because a race can be won or lost on the track by saving fuel. I apply that same principle when I’m on the road. To do our own part, we are working to make our team carbon neutral this year. It’s a big challenge, but the goal is to make sure that we can try to offset our carbon footprint.”

Along with the partnership with Indy Goes Green, EcoDrivingUSA continues to grow. This week the Environmental Defense Fund officially joined the EcoDriving Worldwide Community. And just last month, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg became the first mayor to endorse the movement, adding his name to the growing list of leaders who have announced their support for the program.

The EcoDriving campaign was launched in 2008 at an event with Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger (R-CA) and Governor Bill Ritter (D-CO). Since then, Governors Sonny Perdue (R-GA), C.L. “Butch” Otter (R-ID), Jennifer M. Granholm (D-MI), Brad Henry (D-OK), and Jon Huntsman (R-UT) also have joined the movement. And this week, Gov. Steve Beshear (D-KY) announces his support for EcoDriving.

During National EcoDriving Month, the Auto Alliance and its 11 global automakers are working to educate consumers about the benefits of EcoDriving through www.EcoDrivingUSA.com. Practicing EcoDriving produces the highest mileage from every single vehicle, regardless of size or age–potentially affecting the United States’ entire fleet of 245 million automobiles. As a result, the possible benefits of the program are significant, and many fuel-saving EcoDriving practices are surprisingly simple, such as:

— The U.S. Department of Transportation estimates that using cruise control for 10,000 of the miles driven in a year could save a driver nearly $200 and more than 60 gallons of fuel.
— Observing the speed limit and not exceeding 60 mph, where legally allowed, can improve mileage by up to 23 percent.
— Traffic lights are often synchronized so that a motorist driving at a specific speed will pass through a series of green lights without stopping. Driving at a steady speed can help drivers avoid red lights, therefore keeping their vehicles moving more efficiently.

“It’s time that we all begin taking the steps necessary to reduce our carbon footprint,” McCurdy said. “While May is designated as National EcoDriving month, we should be EcoDrivers all year long.”

For more information on EcoDriving, or to become an EcoDriver, please visit the interactive Web site, www.autoalliance.org, which helps drivers learn practical tips for improving their mileage and reducing their carbon footprint. The site includes a video guide to EcoDriving, an “EcoCalculator” to determine benefits for individuals or states, a Virtual Road Test, and a variety of educational tools.

The Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers is a trade association of 11 car and light truck manufacturers including BMW Group, Chrysler, Ford Motor Company, General Motors, Jaguar Land Rover, Mazda, Mercedes-Benz, Mitsubishi Motors, Porsche, Toyota and Volkswagen.