Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Betty's October column in Abode: Reduce your driving!

Enjoy this column here at Betty's blog or read it in this month's Abode: www.c-ville.com

Charlottesvillians everywhere are finding ways to downshift their driving. To skip a trip, choose a ride you take on a weekly basis and get creative.

To maintain your level of awareness, keep a fuel log.

Then trade your four wheels for two and bike or walk.

Not viable? Jeff Greer, Senior Systems Engineer at LexisNexis, saves up to 35 miles a week using the Charlottesville Transit System bus or free trolley.

Our local rideshare program (www.rideshareinfo.org) makes carpooling easy. Commit to once a week and the “guaranteed ride” program ensures you won’t be left stranded. And parents: check to see if your school is registered with the schoolpool which matches drivers for you.

Have you heard of hypermiling to maximize fuel efficiency? Consider making small adjustments in your driving techniques for a week: shifting into neutral when reaching top speed, staying within speed limits, eliminating quick starts, and turning off the engine when idling for more than a minute and see the positive results.

Talk to your boss about the possibility of four-day work week or working from home. Select departments at UVA and Charlottesville City have promoted this fuel-saving change.

Marleigh Baratz, a county resident, began a “call before you go” system on her block. Before going to the store, she phones neighbors to see if they need a couple items (to be reimbursed), helping others to avoid unnecessary trips. Better yet, take advantage of retail relay (www.retailrelay.com): a newly launched online service, where you click, pay, and make one trip to pick up your local goods.

Eliminating one weekly ten-mile trip will save you over 2,000 miles a year and up to $550 in gas.

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