COEUR d'ALENE - Within one week, we found national stories posted on websites claiming gas prices this year will:
Hit $4 a gallon (they already have in some places)Thanks Veronica for highlighting biking and walking in your editorial!
Hit $5 a gallon
Fall back close to $2 a gallon
With that range, predictions are a penny a pound. The only certainty is that the price which appears on the pump is way, way beyond your control.
But what isn't is how much gas you use.
Come on, this drill isn't new. We battled those four buck a gallon blues before and we can do it again.
The Internet has literally hundreds of suggestions on ways for you to make your gas allowance go further. We're including a few good ones here just to save your fingertips and eyestrain a bit. But inside every challenge lurk opportunities, and with rising gas prices, you have a chance to get into better shape.
As the weather improves - any time now, Mother Nature - our region becomes very hospitable to walkers and bicycle riders. Granted, you'll need to leave earlier if you're walking or biking to work or school, and you may need to bring some fresh clothes or leave them wherever you're going. But saving a single round-trip a week will eliminate 20 percent from your commute tab, plus the wear and tear that eventually eclipses routine gas consumption. And best of all, you'll feel better and look better for the effort.
Some of the simple ways to save gas without breaking a sweat:
* Ride Citylink; it's free.
* Don't warm your vehicle up for more than a minute, even on cold mornings. Anything over a minute is wasting gas.
* When the weather turns warm, air conditioning can provide personal relief, but it's heck on your gas mileage. Running the air conditioning typically lowers fuel economy by 10 to 20 percent. Roll down your windows in town; if it's hot and you're on the highway, run the air conditioner but keep your windows up. Closed windows decrease air resistance; air resistance increases gas consumption.
* Remove non-essential heavy items from your trunk or the back of your truck.
* Maybe most important: Keep your engine well tuned and follow through with routine maintenance.
So while you're tuning up the vehicle engine, get out and walk or ride a bike. That'll keep your engine in tune, an investment worth its weight in oil.
- - - - -
This editorial was written with help from Veronica Talley, a Post Falls High School senior who has been job shadowing in the Coeur d'Alene Press newsroom.