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Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Beach on gas

Just in case you’ve forgotten, here’s 6 tips to save gas

Thoughts that floated in and around my brain Thursday while I was doing my favorite thing: filling up my gas tank, this time for $4.35 per gallon (the cheapest stuff offered) at the Mobil station on Sargent Drive.
Why do they keep insisting I punch in my ZIP code before ripping me off?
Why do they always ask me if I want a car wash? Do they think I want to pay them even more?
Will I break 50 bucks here? Maybe not; when I arrived, I already had a quarter of a tank in my trusty rusty 1991 Toyota Camry wagon.
Why are drivers still driving like maniacs, when anybody with half a brain knows by now that if you slow down, you save gas?
Watching the awful toll keep rising on the pump, I recalled a recent news story by CNNMoney.com. The lead: "With all the worry over fuel prices, you’d think drivers would do whatever they can not to waste gas. But look around..."
Yeah, look around at the cars racing past you. When I drove to Hartford Wednesday, I tried averaging 60 mph and was swarmed over by speedsters. When will they ever learn?
The CNN story listed "six ways you’re wasting gas." I print them here, in case anybody wants to think about slowing down and saving gas/money.
1. Racing away from green lights: When the light turns green, you don’t have to take off as quickly as possible. The more you press down on your gas pedal, the more gas you’re pumping into the engine.
2. Racing up to red lights: When you see a red light up ahead, lay off the gas sooner.
3. Confusing the highway with a speedway: The faster you go, the more air your vehicle has to push out of the way. According to tests by Consumer Reports, driving at 75 mph instead of 65 mph increases fuel use by 3-5 miles per gallon, depending on the vehicle.
4. Bumper-buzzing: Oh, can’t you relate to this one? Haven’t you often endured that irritating experience of having some jerk on your back? Bumper-buzzing is the term CNNMoney.com used for tailgating. As the story noted, it’s unsafe as well as a waste of gas. The tailgater, forced to brake repeatedly in response to the car directly ahead of him, has to keep accelerating over and over to get back up to speed to resume tailgating.
5. Driving standing still: Idling burns about a half-mile worth of gas every minute. If you’re waiting for someone to run in and out of a convenience store, turn off the engine.
6. Short hops: For very short trips, do something revolutionary: Walk!
If you don’t want to walk, you could ride a bike.
In case you haven’t noticed, bicycles are all over New Haven, and more of them join the traffic daily. The reason is obvious; those tolling gas pumps. The folks at Devil’s Gear, who now have two bike shops in New Haven, say the list of customers wanting tune-ups or repairs keeps growing.
Devil’s Gear helped organize today’s Bike to Work Friday. Maybe you saw some of them this morning outside New Haven City Hall, sharing breakfast and chatting about commuting routes.
I confess, I drove to work today as usual. My wife, who rides her bike from our East Rock home to her downtown office, is always telling me that I should be doing the same.
And I always tell her my job sometimes requires that I get to an unexpected destination rather quickly and that it wouldn’t be prudent to arrive in a sweatball state.
Yeah, yeah, Excuses, excuses.
My final bill at that pump Friday: $50.45. D’oh!
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This just in: Susan Dillman reports she has published a cookbook to raise money for her friend Amy O’Neill, 50, of Hamden, who was born with a progressive skin disease, epidermolysis bullosa.
O’Neill has endured more than 150 operations, but many of her medical expenses are not covered by insurance. Dillman and others volunteer their time to raise money for her. Their latest effort, the book "Amy’s Kitchen," will be selling for $15 as of Saturday at Hamden stores, including the Whitneyville Food Center, Books & Co., Nicolino’s, the French Door and Dava.
For more information, visit www.amyoneill.org.
Randall Beach can be reached at rbeach@nhregister.com or 789-5766.

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