We’re all about practical solutions here at TerraPass. While politicians pander, consumers complain and gas prices soar, you — yes, you! — can personally play a role in getting those fuel costs under control real quick. How? Glad you asked…
This tip is shamelessly ripped off from the Environmental Economics blog, so I’ll just quote in full:
> Drive Less! – The env-econ grass roots solution to high gas prices. Drive Less is an answer to the question “What can we as consumers do to bring down the price of gas?” “Drive Less!” places the burden on drivers to take action. Gas prices are high because drivers are willing to pay high gas prices. “Drive Less!” and gas prices will fall.
You might be thinking that this advice is little help to those protesting truck drivers, who need to drive to earn a living. Ah, but that’s the beauty of the “Drive Less” campaign. When demand slackens, the price of gas drops for everyone. Drive less for the environment, for your wallet, and for your trucker brethren.
(I once came across a great stat on how much gas prices would drop if everyone shaved just a few miles from their weekly travels. Alas, I can’t find it anywhere. If anyone knows the figure, please post it in comments.)
Maybe you can’t drive less. But surely you can drive more slowly. According to the Congressional Budget Office, drivers appear to slow down when gas prices rise. The effect is so small that it’s almost certainly unconscious, but it is nevertheless a rational response to high fuel prices. Easing off the accelerator can boost your car’s fuel efficiency 10% or more, depending on conditions.
So get over to the right lane, turn on cruise control, and enjoy the scenery.
Update: Pete reminds me to shill for our very cool ScanGauge II real-time mpg computer. This little number makes Sunday driving fun.
Join the trucker protest
Truckers demanding that Congress put caps on gas prices have the wrong policy prescription, but there is at least one simple solution at politicians’ disposal: raise the weight limit on trucks.
The U.S. has one of the lowest freight weight limits among developed countries. In Canada, trucks can haul up to 138,000 lbs. When they hit the U.S. border, they have to slim down to 80,000 lbs. Lower weight limits mean more trucks on the road, which increases not only carbon emissions but also deadly traffic accidents. One study suggested that a 7% increase in the weight limit could shave off 8 billion miles of driving annually.
Like so many efficiency measures, this one seems like a freebie. It’s not, actually. Infrastructure would have to be improved to handle the heavier loads. But it’s still a quick-ish fix.
Bonus tip: inflate your tires
This is just a no-brainer — make sure your tires are properly inflated. Then throw on some of our jazzy LED tire alerts to make sure they stay that way.