Gathering data, their first miles-per-gallon measurement
purposely allowed no change in tire pressure. Parents were requested to operate the car "as is".
The idea of teaching fuel efficient driving resulted from a class of 9th grade science students interested
in learning ways to reduce costs of operating an automobile. As passengers, the family car became
their "homework laboratory".
With parents observing, all tires were inflated to correct air pressures. In time each student again calculated mileage, nost finding noticeable MPG improvement now due to proper tire pressure.
The next classroom assignment was:"If your calculated gain in MPG represents your savings over a lifetime of driving, (500,000 miles) how much money can you save?" The replies range from $5,000 to $8,000.
This "look at reality" has opened the door to exceptional opportunities.
Many reasons are apparent for wanting to reduce the amount of enegy used and the money spent for energy. These include
Whatever reason for decreasing energy consumption, there are many ways in which savings can be made.
- the desire to conserve natural resources
- the wish to be independent of foreign suppliers
- the need to save money
First, you need to develop an attitude of conservation. You must want to save before much effort will be devoted to changing habits or seeking ways to use less energy. Management decisions should relate to the goals of conserving energy or reducing energy costs.
Much has been written about changing life-styles. To some people, changing life-style to conserve energy means a reduction in the level of living. For them, conservation is interpreted as doing without. To others, it means finding ways to do things differently, more efficiently, but it does not necessarily mean making great sacrifices in their level of living.
Life style of the family is potentially the most important means to conservation.
If saving dollars is a goal for the household, conserving energy provides an effective means of achieving the goal. To the extent that market price is a signal to consumers, the rapid increases in the price of energy should indicate the growing importance of conserving energy.
On looking for ways to save energy, focus first on relatively large uses of energy.
Transportation accounts for nearly half the direct consumption of energy by individuals and families. The rapid increase in the cost of gasoline and the large percent of energy used for transportation are good reasons for the emphasis on conservation through selections and use of automobiles.
Conserving energy can be made into a game to challenge all members of the family. Positive aspects of conservation can be emphasized. Feelings of success then will be associated with reduction in energy use, and the negative aspects of conservation can be minimized.
Nearly all the energy for transportation comes from petroleum, an increasingly scarce resource. Because nearly half of our oil is imported, its availability and price are determined in large part by others. Drastic efforts to reduce the use of petroleum products will decrease our dependence on foreign countries and help to control the cost of energy.
Transportation needs and alternatives differ freatley for urban, suburban, and rural dwellers. Mass transit is likely to be available in urban areas. For some suburbs, limited public transportation may be a possibility. in other suburban or sparsely populated areas, the automibile is the dominant form of conbeyance.
Private means of transpotation ar depended on heavily in rural areas. No matter what alternatives are available, a very large fraction of transportation energy is used by private autos.
Shifting to a smaller, lighter car with improved gas mileage will reduce the energy consumed and the cost of operation. Furthermore, controlling the number of miles that each car is driven will contribute to conservation. Car pooling, combining trips, and use of public transportation are ways to reduce driving.
Perhaps a manager of transportaion should be designated in each family. THe manager could be aware of all the travel needs of the individual family members, and could plan use of the family car or suggest other means of meetin the transportation requirements.
Copyright © 1999 Fuel Alert Inc.