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Question of the Week: What would convince you to change your driving habits?

2008 June 30

Each week we ask a question related to the environment. Please let us know your thoughts as comments. Feel free to respond to earlier comments or post new ideas. Previous questions.

Driving less, carpooling, and combining errands all mean less pollution. And with fuel prices rising, people are driving less, or driving smarter when they can. But many find it very difficult to drive less because of where they live or what they do.

What would convince you to change your driving habits?

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En español: Cada semana hacemos una pregunta relacionada al medio ambiente. Por favor comparta con nosotros sus pensamientos y comentarios. Siéntase en libertad de responder a comentarios anteriores o plantear nuevas ideas. Preguntas previas.

Actividades como el guiar menos, hacer carpool y combinar mandados todas contribuyen a reducir la contaminación. Mientras los precios del combustible están en alza, las personas están conduciendo menos y lo están haciendo de manera más inteligente siempre que pueden. Sin embargo, a veces se les dificulta guiar menos debido al lugar donde viven o por lo que hacen.

¿Qué le convencería para cambiar sus hábitos de guiar?

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed here are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.

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180 Responses leave one →
  1. Bobby Miller permalink
    July 1, 2008

    I would change my driving habits if everyone could get on the same page about how to conserve. Some people drive gas saving vehicles and others will not give up their SUV’s. But the people with the SUV’s expect the gas prices to go down.

  2. Winstons Girl permalink
    July 1, 2008

    Fuel prices already have. I have to drive due to the length of my commute and lack of public transit, but I’ve really cut back when I can. I don’t leave for lunch, combine errands, do as much as possible within a few miles of my house.

  3. Kit Cat permalink
    July 1, 2008

    Brandon, your attitude is exactly why we are still using fossil fuels to provide energy for our transportation. When Americans’ voices are united, we can accomplish so much. I am ecstatic that our gas prices are >$4/gallon and hope it gets to $6/gallon! Have you noticed how less-congested the roads are at all times of the day? They are! Have you noticed how the average-Joe is talking about something important in terms of energy conservation. People are so wasteful. I adjusted my lifestyle post 1979 when the first oil embargo hit us. I conserve but haven’t really changed anything about the quality of my life…I’m just a responsible citizen of the earth. Brandon, wait until you get to experience the alternative gas pump assignment system (we had it in the 1989′s): Even-numbered license plates fill up on Mon/Wed/Fri and Odd-numbered license plates fill up on Tues/Thurs/Sat (can’t remember what happened for Sundays). Anyway, this is an opportunity for us! Let’s see what kind of leadership our new president brings to the table

  4. Kit Cat permalink
    July 1, 2008

    Bobby, why do you feel that you have to wait for others to change their driving habits before you will change yours. Maybe the SUV drivers are hanging their clothes out to dry, don’t water their yards, have all energy efficient light bulbs, and keep their air conditioner set at 73 degrees. Why don’t you focus on what you can do to make a difference. Your actions may inspire others. Maybe the SUV-driver can’t unload the car because nobody wants it but they have modified their driving behavior to drive fewer miles. Anyway, to each their own in terms of addressing fuel conservation. I am ecstatic that statistics are showing that Americans have driven MILLIONS of miles less than the same time last year. That’s the kind of behavior that will wake up the ‘powers that be’…. maybe the automobile manufactureres will give us the kind of car we want – a car that uses a minimum amount of fossil fuel and accentuates the use of renewable energy…Solar/Wind/Hydro that feeds our Electric Grids so we can fuel up from our garage!!!! It’s not a bad solution is it? Watch the documentary: “Who Killed the Electric Car” then tell me that you will wait for others to adjust their driving habits before you will change yours.

  5. Shirley permalink
    July 1, 2008

    In my country, the car population has increased as fast as economy,and more and more people have been expecting to drive their own vehicles out and home,so we can see the big problem is getting clear,that is air pollution.

    For myself, the awareness of necessity to protect the environment will convince me to change my driving habits to the more environment-friendly one.

  6. Christy S. permalink
    July 1, 2008

    I can’t change how much I drive to work; it’s 40 miles each way on a fairly rural/small-town stretch of interstate. I’m getting registered for carpooling, but that’s the only other option I have.

    Running errands around town, though, I’d be thrilled if there were more & better bike lanes so I could ride the 2 miles to the grocery, video store, library, bank, etc.

    I’m somewhat used to riding in traffic in a bike-friendly town, but in my new zip code I wouldn’t call it bike-friendly so I don’t feel safe. It would be great if there were a way to educate people that bicyclists are smug superior-types getting in the way of their motor vehicle.

    I do love my car, but I hate having to spend so much time in it to run small errands. Wastes money (gas) and time!

  7. Kit Cat permalink
    July 1, 2008

    Wayne, why don’t you think out of the box a little bit. We can stay as wide-spread as we want to…however, why don’t we consider other fuel methods such as those that can be garnered by the Sun (solar)/Wind/ Hydro (water). Harness the energy from natural sources, fuel our electric grids & we can use more electric energy to fuel our cars versus relying on fossil fuel. Rent the documentary “Who Killed the Electric Car” and you will find out how complicated America is in terms of who makes & breaks decisions that affect the average American! If Congress doesn’t want something to happen…it won’t! If the BIG oil companies don’t want something to happen…it won’t! If the BIG 3 car manufactureres don’t want something to happen…it won’t! If the president doesn’t want something to happen (oil interests, $$$, etc)…it won’t. Rent the documentary or buy it off Amazon and maybe you will have a slightly different view.

  8. Kit Cat permalink
    July 1, 2008

    Richard, 2005 wasn’t the first time that gas prices increased…go to the Internet and search the OPEC oil Embargo that took place in the 1970′s and how America responded, then take a look at what happened when Regan took office as president…we went backwards after 1985 & those actions as well as recent governmental actions/inactions have put us where we are today. Rent the documentary “Who Killed the Electric Car” and your eyes will be opened. I agree with your 9/80 schedule and 4-day workweek of 10-hour days. Sometimes the most common-se sense answers will just never happen. Maybe after you see the documentary, you will “have an answer”… Happy Trails to You.

  9. Kit Cat permalink
    July 1, 2008

    Dan, you are my kind of person!!! Are you a ‘child of the 60′s or 70′s??? I agree with you, we are in Iraq over oil supplies, Americans waste oil by the millions of barrels & cry about the price of gas – are they crying about our injured men & women coming back from Iraq…are they crying about those who died in Iraq??? I am confounded about the lack of interest our college-students have in this issue? The Gen Xers & Millenials are so caught up in consumerism & American Idol, they are missing an opportunity to make a difference. Dan, take some time this weekend and watch the documentary “Who Killed the Electric Car”…you will see today’s situation in a very different light.

  10. Kit Cat permalink
    July 1, 2008

    To all of those who will read this blog, rent or buy the documentary “Who Killed the Electric Car”…it’s an eye opener. All the great ideas in the world (and on this blog) won’t happen if the-powers-that-be don’t want it to happen. There’s a force that has kept us beholding to the American Car Manufactuers and the Oil Companies.

  11. Tony Pirondini permalink
    July 1, 2008

    Promote more convenient and less expensive alternatives. Mobility = freedom, so any alternative needs to be significantly cheaper and more convenient than driving a car. Most people won’t change just to be “green”, unless there’s more “green” kept in their pockets!

    Here are a few ideas:
    (1) Only charge single-occupied automobiles for toll roads and bridge tolls. Some states do this already at certain times of day, such as commute hours. It needs to be done all the time, so people always think “carpool”.
    (2) Offer tax breaks to those who use and have receipts for public transportation.

    Convenience is usually sacrificed when carpooling or using public transit, so it better be cheaper – or most get out of their cars.

  12. jannbeau permalink
    July 1, 2008

    “Ditto” to what “Winstons Girl” said.

    Unfortunately, lack of planning by local, state, and federal government entities DOES constitute an emergency for us all! SNAFU!

    The failure of responsible entities to institute public transit or to support private mass transit business – especially via rail – along with graft, special interests, etc. – added to the dismal lack of initiative and knowledge needed to design, establish, and maintain workable public transit leads one to the inevitable conclusion that such is an utopia, never to see the light of day.

    To, finally, answer the question, I’d give up my auto in a NY minute if I had a reliable, flexible, and FAST public system, running at least 4 times/hour during rush times that would get me to work in the same or less time than my 30-minute solitary automobile commute from a small town outside the metropolis in which I work. Failing this, telecommuting would be perfect for anyone with a position like mine, but that, too, is unlikely as my employer (state government) seems more interested in counting heads each day than it is in relieving congestion, decreasing pollution, and giving back the $2.50/gallon lost in real income (or putative income) by the run-up in gasoline. Such a rebate doesn’t even account for increased food, housing, and utility costs secondary to increased direct fuel costs.

    SO… what CAN we do? As I see it, we can only change small behaviors related to personal travel. Currently, my husband and I run errands together; we entrain errands, carefully planning our routes; we are lucky enough to be able to have bought a very small, more fuel efficient auto. When possible, we stay at home one weekend day/week (a GREAT perk).

    It is indeed unfortunate that our efforts will not and CANNOT make up for even one round trip to the city (30 miles each way x 2 people = 120+ miles/day) with its attendant pollution and increased financial burden – not to mention the never-to-be regained lost time – from driving a solitary 15,000 dangerous miles or, to look at it another way, those 250+ (60 miles/ hour if we’re lucky) unproductive hours per year … and they ask why we risk our lives talking on cell phones while driving?

    Jannbeau

  13. andrew permalink
    July 1, 2008

    there are several key enablers of habitual driving:
    capacity of the roads,
    supply of fuel,
    sustainable driving habits (not crashing),
    supply of affordable vehicles,
    scrap yards,
    somewhere to park.

    It seems to me that initiatives related to road use pricing, fuel pricing, driver training and mass production/disposal of vehicles have all failed to transmit the true cost of driving to the driver.

    Deleting parking spaces, except for those who are disabled or driving a bus, would be a relatively untested way to inspire alternative provision. My city has almost nowhere to park except on the outskirts. Bus services, cycle lanes and delivery services have flourished. But the reason for not building car parks everywhere is just an accident of history.

    …car parks can be dug up, road side parking can be turned into cycle lanes or bus lanes, car park owners could become the entrepreneurs they always dreamed they would be.

    Does anyone know what proportion of the land area of their city is devoted to car parking?

  14. Andy Palmer permalink
    July 1, 2008

    More public transport, in particular rail transport, would get a lot of cars off the road.

  15. Cheryl permalink
    July 1, 2008

    PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION, PLEASE!!!!!!!!!!!! Most major cities have a system, smaller communities often do not. And, a high speed rail system across the U.S. would be wonderful. If I could get rid of my car I would. Please, someone help us get around with good public transportation!

  16. Mark O'Neil permalink
    July 1, 2008

    Reduce my taxes, permanently.

  17. Jeff, in Madison, WI permalink
    July 1, 2008

    Twenty years ago, I chose to live in an old compact neighborhood where I can bike 3 miles to work, take my kids to daycare in a bike trailer, do most errands and social calls on foot or by bike, and take a nearby bus to work on those few days when the streets are too icy for biking. We use our car mainly for a few weekend trips and one or two longer vacations, although we often take spring break vacations by train.

    However, we could easily have gotten a second car and driven everywhere. Our choice had nothing to do with economics, and everything to do with a respect for the fact that our planet’s fossil fuel resources are finite, and that our nation’s air quality is often unhealthy because of our over-use of these fuels. We regularly join with others in demanding more adn better accommodations for bicyclists, and have succeeded in many ways.

    It would take smarter voting by all Americans, and bolder decisions by EPA administrators and other political and non-appointed adminstrators, to enable us to drive even less than we currently do.

    It’s pretty evident from scanning the comments here that a large portion of Americans are about ready to bike more, demand less car-intensive land use decisions, or use efficient rail or bus transit, and that is encouraging.

    However, to accomplish this will require that our nations citizens elect representatives with the vision and courage to LEAD by example, and to make decisions that will shape our urban areas and transportations systems into something much more energy efficient as well as and human- and planet-friendly.

    Finally, when EPA listens to its science advisors and establishes air quality standards that better protect human health, we need to be able use those standards as a forcing function to further reduce transportation pollution.

  18. sharon permalink
    July 1, 2008

    The way Los Angeles is lay out: business areas, residential areas, shopping areas, etc., makes it difficult at best to coordinate what one has to get accomplished in a day with someone else such that it would make car pooling, on a consistant basis, workable.

  19. Hortensia, MN permalink
    July 1, 2008

    I think if cities would have built thinking around public transportation (metro, buses, fast trains) we wouldn’t have such amount of suburbs and isolated homes. Now it is difficult for those who chosed living in that areas to save money and not contaminate due to they are too far from simple groceries, schools, church, etc,.
    It is even difficult going for shopping without thinking to drive a car in a big-medium size citie. They are not small groceries, printers, small bakery, small retail shop, repair furniture shops, meat shop, fish shop, library, book shop, coffee shop etc. next to our neighborhood. We have to drive a lot to get a simple donut or to gather our friends.
    We have shipped everything to mall’s. What about the skill town citie?
    Shouldn’t we start thinking that we really need a public transportation that works next to our homes, so we will save a lot of money in insurance’s car, car accidents, repairs, oil change & maintance (lead acid batteries, antifreeze, lead wheel weights, water used in car wash, ), gas, meaning all together waste of money, resources and sometime people plus we contaminate more and more.
    We can carpool but our politicians should be the ones who really need to make the step forward.
    We are just ready to follow them, aren’t we?

  20. doompatrol permalink
    July 1, 2008

    Nothing would get me to change my driving habits because I ride a bicycle. My blood pressure is spot on 120/80. My heart rate is 38. I’m 43YO and I rarely get sick or have to go to the hospital. I require no prescriptions. I ride 14 miles one-way, not because gas is expensive but because it’s the only way that makes sense when you look at the big picture. What’s open heart surgery costing these days? How much do “life-saving” drugs cost car and motorcycle commuters who are too out of shape to pedal the average 3-5 miles one-way to work? I’ve taken off from work at the same time as a co-worker in a car who was coming over to dinner. Guess what? I arrived five minutes after he did.

    Roads are too dangerous? Yeah, I agree. But too many people complain when police write tickets, so traffic enforcement divisions across the nation are chronically undersized for the job at hand. Bottom line__We don’t want safe roads. We want big cars and cheap gas and everybody needs to get the hell outta our way. In other words, we deserve whatever is coming. If you think $4/gal gas is bad, just you wait and see.

    Why is it that the new American motto is “I can’t”? When did that happen and why? Read on for my theory…

    Public transportation, like public schools, public healthcare, and virtually everything else that is socialist in nature, sucks. Public [insert institution name here] benefits users at the expense of non-users and reduces the need for people to be personally responsible. As socialism grows stronger here and more people come to expect the government to save their bacon, the “I can’t” motto will only grow louder and more persistent.

    You cannot control urban sprawl by putting in very expensive fast trains at everyone’s expense that makes it easier to live in the suburbs. Population continues to grow exponentially. There’s your root of all evil. We are truly doomed.

    Now get your ass on a bike and ride.

  21. Chris permalink
    July 1, 2008

    Deliveries by supermarkets are a welcomed option for anyone who thinks groceries weight too much. If one just makes the milkmaid calculation that only one car is filled up with groceries, driving to many families who reduce their mileage by not using the car – awesome!

    Alternatively, you might take (a) bike(s) with your kids or alone with panniers and a big backpack. 1.5 miles doesn’t seem a lot.

    Another thing I am interested: If it is not just the one-time shopping per week, are you having such a big family or how comes that the shopping trolley is that full?

  22. April permalink
    July 1, 2008

    Roads that are bike friendly — slow car traffic down or create seperate bike/pedistrian lanes with all new and reconstruction road projects.

  23. Susan permalink
    July 1, 2008

    I believe we need to be working shorter, more flexible work weeks. The 40+ hour work week that goes from 8-5 is an artifact that does not support physical, emotional or spiritual health. OR healthy commuting! It is, for many people, a rat race that ends up killing them.

  24. Maria permalink
    July 1, 2008

    In my native town back in Argentina, no matter where you go to live, there is always a bus stop in the corner or 2 or 3 block around. We should check the transportation systems of other countries to learn from them. It will be great to have more lines of Bus, and they should be more efficient. If they do not take hours, like you spend in Miami to arrive some where in bus, people will take them. There should be more bus lines, more roads only for buses, and good services that be convenient to everyone. Also, every town should have roads for bicycle, so we can go to the supermarket in bicycle. In some towns of Miami, it is impossible.

  25. Gwen permalink
    July 1, 2008

    If public transportation went where I wanted to go without adding at least an hour each way, I’d gladly take it. But all transporation dollars are spent on widening highways for ever-larger cars rather than developing a viable public transportation system.

  26. Anonymous permalink
    July 1, 2008

    You want us to pay you tax incentives to walk? Give me a break! I bet you don’t even pay taxes!

  27. GARY HERE... permalink
    July 2, 2008

    Since gasoline has raised dramatically in Ohio I have been driving my 1993 van under 60 miles an hour. My son borrows my van ’cause I get 19 miles to the gallon and his truck doesn’t. I don’t have air conditioning in my van, but his truck does. I don’t use the a/c. These 2 changes have taken place since early 2008. I save some money weekly by abiding by these 2 changes.
    Gary

  28. Norton permalink
    July 2, 2008

    More expensive gas.

  29. Carol permalink
    July 2, 2008

    Available public transportation and neighborhood services such as grocery stores.

  30. Pat Griffin permalink
    July 2, 2008

    I have already changed my driving habits due to the cost of fuel and the increase in everything else. I drive at 55 mph even though the speed limit is 65. I have noticed that I can go more days between fillups – so it is probably true that you can save about 20% on fuel costs by lowering your speed. I only use the car when absoutley necessary, no little trips to run errans, that is done going or comming to work.

  31. hans permalink
    July 2, 2008

    $4 gasoline. I bike to work now. It’s only 10 miles, I’d it was longer I’d get a scooter. When I do drive I also started those hyper miling technigues like driving without breaks.

  32. Anonymous permalink
    July 2, 2008

    I’ve BEEN convinced for years and doing the best I can. Unfortunately, I don’t always have options. This entire nation is build around the personal vehicle and there’s no easy fix. We (meaning both citizens and the government) should have heeded the warnings for the last 15 years that the current state of affairs was inevitable and done more to prepare. Instead, now we all have to make sacrifices.

  33. Matthew permalink
    July 2, 2008

    Global warming, obviously. I’m scared to death about global warming.

    My dad has always had a public transit obsession, and we live in Chicago, which has a awesome public transit system, the CTA. Needless to say we ride this alot.

    We are also renting a Prius for a trip to Canada.

  34. Rose permalink
    July 2, 2008

    Carpooling, and public transit. I enjoy the carpooling.

  35. Kim Lotman permalink
    July 2, 2008

    I would like the government to increase the monthly limit on the tax free benefit of public transit. Currently, the limit is $115 per month that you can deduct from your income before taxes are taken out. I spend $150 on a monthly bus pass.

  36. Richard permalink
    July 2, 2008

    The daily commute is the most important driving that most people do every day. Much of our driving today is inefficient because of all the stop, start and waits. Traffic flow patterns could be altered to improve flow, such as replace Stop signs with ‘Yields.’

    In many locations the traffic light timign has not been adjusted for yeas and optimization of the timing would help traffic flow. Modern lights with sensors also help.

    There are many small actions that indiviually may nto make a large impact, but combined become significant.

    It seems that everyone wants to go to work at the same time and leave at the same time. If flexilbe schedules were encouraged more, then rush hour traffic would be avoided and the traffic would move more freely. Shorter commutes, with fewer slow downs and stops would save fuel; without needing any new technologies.

  37. Karen permalink
    July 2, 2008

    A bus that comes more than once per hour. I live *on* the bus route, but it goes by so seldom that I could either be 40 minutes early for work, or 10 minutes late. Neither one works for me.

    Another combination that would work is if my son’s day care were open later, and my working hours were more flexible (there’s no reason they shouldn’t be). Then the “10 minutes late” scenario would become “workday starts 10-15 minutes later and ends 10-15 minutes later.”

    Also, if I could get off the bus, do some shopping, then get on the next bus to continue on to my destination without paying again. I pay a fare to get from work to home, but if I want to stop on the way home, I have to pay two fares.

  38. Holly permalink
    July 2, 2008

    I changed jobs to shorten my commute. Now I have more time, spend less and gas, and do a little bit for the environment at the same time.

  39. Karen permalink
    July 3, 2008

    More affordable and more available public transportation

  40. Norma permalink
    July 3, 2008

    I have already changed my driving habbits by taking the shortest route to work; driving slower; and running errands after work. I live in the country and would love to have groceries delivered but I am outside their delivery area. I feel the US should start drilling and employers should be mandated to offer flex time to their employees.

  41. Genie permalink
    July 3, 2008

    Our country has made so many wrong decisions in the past that it’s going to take a lot to get things straightened out. I think if we used our own people power (those who can anyway), we’d all be a lot healthier not only because we’d be using our bodies to do what was intended for them to do and because we’d be putting less pollution into the air and water. I’d love to see more bike paths, bike lanes, as well as more high-quality public transportation. What we need is innovation…can someone invent something that we can use our own power to run but that will protect us from some weather conditions (such as rain, snow, wind, and heat)? Or can we create commuter vehicles that are much smaller and perhaps would use solar power to run? Then would our oil-hungry government finally give those kinds of products a chance to be successful?

  42. chiara permalink
    July 4, 2008

    I would preferably ride my bike to go work if I had enough time to spend with my family and not the whole day occupied by work. No comment about the public transport. I mean: we need to drive just to earn time to spend for life.

  43. J from Memphis permalink
    July 4, 2008

    I have already changed my habits. I make all my trips at one time when possible, by planning my routes. I also shop locally on my way home from work. It would be nice if the city I live near had a convenient bus system but it does not, at least its not convenient for people in the suburbs. It would be nice if oil industry would stopping looking at their bottom line but since this is a country of free enterprise that would lead us one more step towards socialism or communism. Perhaps cities that do not already have good transit systems like subways or elevated rails should be given incentives to start them.

  44. Jemoiselle permalink
    July 5, 2008

    Easy my friend—-

    We are a small town raised military family with a new little baby stationed in Las Vegas, Nevada——we would ride the bus system if they put police officers in each bus to make sure nobody gets shot! I don’t feel it is safe riding the public transportation service here. It is violent, segregated, dangerous and leaves you baking in the heat at unsafe levels for my infant, while you wait. So, with that, I would say they also would need to make some sort of waiting area that brings the heat down to a safe level for kids. Hmmm.

    Or, another avenue might be the formation of middle class aka safe “carpooling charter busses” one could become a member of for a monthly fee or maybe a one time fare higher than busses. A big nice bus, with a bathroom and normal people who can afford to pay more than bus fare but less than fueling a car for the month. I don’t know, it’s not perfect but it is a start at an idea to appeal to everyone but the super rich “too-good-for-sharing” a ride of any sort type.

  45. Jemoiselle permalink
    July 5, 2008

    Oh yeah, and one more thing. Why are we all up in arms about how to concerve and combat the high fuel prices when we are still quietly allowing our government to pay the big oil companies
    “Oil Stipends” I believe they are called, or extra money to help with their profits from way back when decades ago they were having trouble. Gosh, I don’t know the details but my Husband talks about it all the time how the stipends or payments were never discontinued. How about we demand they be discontinued now that they are making record profits and milking us like little blood sucking vampires, and put that money towards nationwide improvements in public transportation and alternative energy? Anyone? Somebody out there go NOW and create
    “www.usa-stop-paying-big-oil-companies-stipends-now.com!!! I’ll join! Unite! *snickers*

  46. angela permalink
    July 6, 2008

    I finally made the decision to adjust my driving habits when a weeks worth of gas was costing me more than $70.00. It made me take a hard look at how having the ability to drive was really becoming a luxury. I started looking into my local bus services and found that with a little foot work I could get myself to and from work for around $2.50 per day. So that equalled to huge savings for me, I now get an extra 40 minutes of exercise per day and I am doing my part for lessening my own personal impact on the environment. I am really enjoying riding the public transit system and have met many wonderful people who have started riding for the same reasons as myself. All in all the soaring gas prices have been a good thing for me. I am healthier and happier.

  47. Greg Faulkner permalink
    July 7, 2008

    I changed my driving habits and gas-consuming habits a few years ago, once I determined that using alot of gas was an unpatriotic thing to do and would become more costly in the future.

    When I moved to a new vehicle in 2005, I chose the most economical and most alternative-fuel capable vehicle I could find (A VW Jetta TDI diesel).

    Since fuel has gone up almost 100% in just one year, I have managed to squeeze out better fuel economy. From around 45 mpg to around 48 mpg (average), and I use B20 biodiesel blended in my fuel tank to help further offset the amount of crude oil I consume personally. I believe that qualifies me as fuel frugal as a Prius driver even though most Americans don’t understand the crude-saving abilities of modern, diesel automobiles.

    I use a push mower and have managed to have used only about 4 gallons so far this summer for my lawn. I try not to use any other petro-type fuels at all.

    I’m not sure what I can do next. I work 30.5 miles from home. I could drive the first 20 miles and bike the last ten to shorten my commute on clear days. I can find no way to possibly car pool due to varying schedules of my work mates and other workers in the area.

  48. Greg Faulkner permalink
    July 7, 2008

    The government / EPA could give us more choices by deregulating the car industry some. There are diesel cars, for instance, in Europe, that get over 60 mpg and are 90% cleaner-burning than the most clean diesel cars designed just two years ago, but the EPA has required a 95% cleanup of diesel cars just from 2006 (PM down to .002 and NOx down to .12). The reduction in NOx is the diesel killer here because cheap technology is just not here yet. The EPA could have asked for a reasonable reduction (say from 1 gram per mile to .4 gram per mile, but they required an immediate, 90% reduction in NOx which is only one compound that reacts with other compounds to create ozone. The other major compound, VOCs, comes mostly from gas-powered cars). Such a mandate makes it very expensive to offer cheap diesel cars in America, and as such, no car company can make a subcompact diesel that can compete on price, even though they get double the fuel economy of our subcompact gassers.

    These economical diesels (60 mpg and up) are not tiny cars like the Smart-4-two, but real subcompacts comparable to the Toyota Yaris, Honda Fit, and Chevy Aveo.

  49. joanne permalink
    July 7, 2008

    I USED to be a very fast driver (75 or more) on the highway, but I now use cruise control at 65. The obvious and #1 reason is gasoline prices – I recently checked my MPG’s of my 1998 Honda Accord, and I am getting only 23.7 MPG’s in mixed driving, and 25 MPG’s highway. Not nearly as good as I had previously thot.

  50. Barb permalink
    July 7, 2008

    I don’t need convincing – the original question implies that I am unwilling. I’ve changed as much as I possibly can without moving or changing jobs.
    The sad fact is that I am unable to make more changes for reasons beyond my control.
    I’d take the bus, but it doesn’t run in my area.
    I’d take the train, but I have to make a day-care stop.
    I’d ride my bike more, but the drivers are aggressive and blind and I am often afraid.
    I’d get past the fear and ride my bike to work, but there are no showers.
    I’d walk, but the sidewalks are inconsistent and there are too few crosswalks.
    I’d carpool, but I have too many stops to and from work.
    I’d do a combination of things, but the time involved would prevent me from participating in activities outside work. I really don’t want to spend my whole life working and commuting.

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