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August 18, 2011 • News

Gear Diary PSA: 10 Ways to Reduce Your Dependance on Foreign Oil

In a summer where ‘double dip’ refers to the economy as much as to an ice cream treat, and with gas prices at the pump only one of dozens of higher costs associated with increasing oil prices, the need to lessen our dependance on foreign oil is acute. To that end, the environmental group Environment America has launched a campaign called Get Off Oil, and has a Facebook and Twitter presence dedicated to the cause.

The focus, according to their Twitter feed, is:

Why get off oil? Cleaner environment, less vulnerable to instability in the Middle East, save $$, increased tech jobs. Safer, richer and happier Americans.

As part of their campaign they highlight 10 ways to reduce your oil usage:

1. Keep up on your vehicle maintenance. On average, an efficient engine could cut your gasoline use by over 46 gallons per year, saving you $139 and reducing your carbon footprint by 900 kilograms per year.

2. Keep your tires inflated and invest in low-rolling resistance tires. With well-inflated advanced tires, you’ll save over $50 per year on your gas bills.

3. Drive efficiently. Driving at a steady, reasonable pace can reduce your fuel use by as much as 15 percent. That means over $175 per year in savings on gasoline, and over a ton of carbon removed from the atmosphere per person.

4. Get rid of unnecessary weight in your car. Your fuel efficiency drops by 1 percent for every 100 pounds of stuff that you keep in your car, so it pays to clean out your trunk.

5. Carpool. Social networking websites like eRideShare have made it increasingly easy and convenient to match up with people with similar commutes. And companies such as NuRide offer discounts at restaurants, free tickets to events, and other rewards to commuters who carpool, vanpool or find other green ways to commute to work. [1]

6. Consider telecommuting as an alternative to the daily drive to work. New technologies are making it easier and easier to do more of your work from home. Working from home saves Americans an average of 46 minutes a day on their commute, which adds up to over 100 hours a year that would otherwise be wasted in traffic—more than the total vacation time many of us earn in a year.

7. Be efficient with your shopping and other travel. When you can walk, walk. When you have to drive, plan ahead and try to hit multiple stores in one trip. Shopping locally saves the gasoline consumed by trucks and ships transporting goods, and shopping online saves the gasoline costs of driving to the store.

8. When you purchase a car, consider its energy costs and impact on the environment. This summer alone, a 60 mpg car would save the average consumer over $500 at the pump. Plug-in electric vehicles, meanwhile, offer superior driving performance and can be operated for just pennies per mile while producing no tailpipe emissions.

9. Prioritize public transportation and walkable, mixed-use communities when you choose a home. Online resources such as the Housing and Transportation Affordability Index can help you figure out which neighborhoods have the most transportation choices. [2]

10. Tell your political leaders that you want real transportation alternatives to get us off oil. The first step is for President Obama to set fuel efficiency standards for passenger vehicles at 60 mpg by 2025. The second step is for Congress and state leaders to pass legislation that will provide more transportation alternatives, and invest in electric vehicles. Follow our campaign at our Twitter and Facebook pages and help get this country off oil.

Of course, not all of these things are applicable for everyone, but there is always the common sense rule: consider the environmental impact of everything you do, from printing emails and sticking them in the trash to driving less than a mile to a place when you are not time constrained to throwing trash on the ground that is likely to be eaten and possibly choke scavenger birds. Everything we do has an impact, and we are just brief visitors here and need to share our world with trillions of other living creatures and try to leave it a better place.

2 Responses to " Gear Diary PSA: 10 Ways to Reduce Your Dependance on Foreign Oil "

  1. 6. Consider telecommuting as an alternative to the daily drive to work. New technologies are making it easier and easier to do more of your work from home. Working from home saves Americans an average of 46 minutes a day on their commute, which adds up to over 100 hours a year that would otherwise be wasted in traffic—more than the total vacation time many of us earn in a year.

    I would love to. Alas, the business model in the U.S., even at most high tech companies, is to at best reluctantly accept the presence of telecommuters (by maybe allowing well-established workers one “work at home” [or WAH] day per week, if you’re one of the lucky ones), and at worst to discourage them. And my observation is that when times are worse, companies (ironically) force workers to come in more. My guess is that it easier for a mid-level manager to justify his or her existence by pointing to butts-in-seats and saying, “See, you need me! Someone has to manage all those people you see there!” In “distributed teams”, mid-level managers are much more vulnerable to getting axed.

    So for that particular point, what we need is a major shift in the way companies do business in this country. It’s coming, but it’s coming much more slowly than would be good for both workers, and the environment. Sigh.

    • David Min says:

      Of course whenever I read or hear about telecommuting, I am always reminded of that Dilbert strip about telecommuting. Day 1 – Dilbert is at his computer in his standard engineer shirt and tie. Day 3, he shows up looking like he just rolled out of bed. Day 7, Ratbert is at the computer, Dilbert is nowhere to be seen.

      Human Nature is Human Nature.