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Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Save Gas, Walk or Bike!

There was a great editorial in today's CdA Press:
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)

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.

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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.
Thanks Veronica for highlighting biking and walking in your editorial!


  1. Do you have any tips on riding in the snow or at night?

  2. Briefly, in the snow I go with studded tires and stick to the lesser traveled streets. Unless the snow is really deep, I find it easier to cut through the fresh snow than deal with the ruts left from tires. If all the streets are rutted, I go with the heavier traveled streets. Leave early to beat traffic. Dress in layers. Wear a ski/snowboard helmet.

    Of course, in winter it is likely dark during your commute so for riding at night lights are the most important. I also tend to use lesser traveled roads and use a really bright light. A cheap flashing light will help cars see you, but won't help you see the ground very well. A rear flashing red light is important too and can be purchased for very little money.

    There is more info on this blog and I will continue to post more info in the future. Thanks for reading!