Save Gas, Money, AND the Earth! April 30, 2011

"Save Gas"Imagine, 2.9 billion gallons of gasoline “down the drain” every day (at almost $4 a gallon now… ACK!!!). That’s how much of this limited resource we WASTE every day stuck in traffic. On a more personal note, each of us motorists loses an average of 38 hours of precious time idling in traffic each year, costing $710 per person in lost productivity and out-of-pocket gas expense.

Mother Earth doesn’t get off much better, as transportation accounts for approximately one-third of all the greenhouse gasses produced in the country?  Easy to believe, considering that motor vehicles emit 20 pounds of carbon dioxide (CO2) per gallon of gas burned.  For a national average of 5.5 tons per year, per motorist.

Now for the good news: Given that we each cast a “Shaquille O’Neal” sized footprint on the earth every time we commute to work (what does he wear, a size 16?), we can all do something about shrinking that impact. The following tips can turn our daily trip into a “green” commute, while actually helping to keep a little bit more “green” in our wallet.

  • Avoid high speeds. Calculations demonstrate a decrease of 3 miles per gallon between 55-65 mph, which rises to 4.3 mpg between 55-70 because of wind resistance.
  • Avoid jackrabbit starts. Gentle acceleration definitely cuts down on gas usage.
  • Avoid unnecessary sudden braking. Coast to a stop to save gas and lower the amount of asbestos fibers in the air.
  • Only use “cruise control” on the open highway. In heavy traffic, it simply wastes gas.
  • Practice optimized shifting techniques. Get into higher gears as quickly as possible.
  • Switch off the air conditioner to save 5% to 15% of the energy your car uses.
  • If idling is anticipated for over 60 seconds, shut the engine off.
  • Keep your vehicle in good state of tune.
  • SHARE A RIDE, call 434-295-6165 for RideShare information.

RideShare is a program of the Thomas Jefferson Planning District Commission in cooperation with the Central Shenandoah Planning District Commission, working to"Green Ride" reduce traffic congestion and increase mobility throughout Central Virginia and the Central Shenandoah Valley.  They offer free carpool and SchoolPool matching, vanpool coordination, and they operate a Guaranteed Ride Home program to provide free rides home in an emergency. RideShare also works with employers to develop and implement traffic reduction programs, and they market the region’s Park and Ride lots.

RideShare is a member of the Commuter Information Team (CIT), a partnership that includes JAUNT, Charlottesville Area Transit (CAT), University Transit Service (UTS), and Greene County Transit. Our work with the CIT includes acting as a transportation information and referral center for the region, as well as contributing to joint marketing and awareness efforts.

RideShare   401 East Water Street Charlottesville, VA 22902-1505
 (434) 295-6165     toll free (888) 974-5500

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