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Tips in Anticipation of Higher Gas Prices

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RISMEDIA, Oct. 19, 2007-With oil prices topping $88 a barrel this week, and prices at the pump sure to follow, the Alliance to Save Energy is once again calling on Congress to enact, immediately, higher Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards. It will take time for the standards to become effective and provide relief, so every day of delay comes at a cost to our economy, our environment, and our national security, the Alliance said.

“Congress must adopt and send to the president the CAFE increases in the Senate energy bill,” said Alliance President Kateri Callahan. “As consumers continue to be burdened by increasing gasoline prices, and with cost-effective technology currently available that can dramatically increase vehicle fuel economy, there simply is no excuse for Congress to postpone raising fuel economy standards.

“The benefits will go beyond consumers’ pocketbooks,” Callahan continued. “Energy efficiency in the transportation sector is a key element in helping to curb the polluting emissions that contribute to climate change and in lowering U.S. dependence on imported oil.”

Callahan noted also that consumers have the power to lower their monthly gasoline costs through easy no-cost and low-cost steps and by choosing hybrid or very fuel-efficient vehicles when purchases are made. To help consumers in the purchase of hybrid or efficient, clean diesel vehicles, the federal government currently offers tax incentives.

The Alliance challenges consumers to take measures that will not only keep dollars in their pockets, but also will help to curb greenhouse gas emissions and enhance our national energy security:

1. Keep cars in good working order with regular tune-ups and oil changes; keep tires properly inflated; stick to the speed limit and avoid aggressive driving; and think about fuel economy when purchasing a new vehicle.

2. Keep your tires properly inflated to improve gas mileage by around 3.3% and also improve safety and tire life. Under-inflated tires can lower gas mileage by 0.4% for every 1 psi (pounds per square inch) drop in pressure of all four tires.

3. Use the manufacturer’s recommended grade of motor oil to improve gas mileage by 1-2%. Also, look for motor oil that says “Energy Conserving” on the API performance symbol to be sure it contains friction-reducing additives.

4. Idle minds and idling vehicles — be mindful when behind the wheel. Avoid idling, which gets 0 mpg. Cars with larger engines typically waste even more gas while idling than cars with smaller engines.

5. Obey the speed limit. It’s safer and less expensive. Gas mileage usually decreases rapidly above 60 mph. As a rule of thumb, each 5 mph over 60 mph is like paying an additional 20 cents per gallon for gas.

6. Curtail “road rage”/aggressive driving. Speeding, rapid acceleration, and braking can lower gas mileage by 33% at highway speeds and 5% around town. Sensible driving is safer, too – so you may save more than gas money.

7. Are you carrying around too much excess “baggage?” Pack lightly when traveling, and avoid carrying items on your vehicle’s roof. An extra 100 pounds in the trunk cuts a typical car’s fuel economy by up to 2%.

8. Use cruise control to help cut fuel consumption by maintaining a steady speed during highway driving.

9. Combine errands into one trip to drive fewer miles, use less fuel, and reduce wear and tear on your vehicle. Several short trips taken from a cold start can use twice as much fuel as a longer, multipurpose trip when the engine is warmed-up and efficient.

10. Investigate other options for getting to work and other places — carpooling, ridesharing, public transportation, biking, walking.

11. Telecommute or stagger work hours if your employer permits to avoid sitting in traffic and wasting gas, especially during peak rush hours.

12. If you own more than one vehicle, drive the one that gets better gas mileage whenever possible. If you drive 15,000 miles a year, driving a car that gets 20 mpg rather than 30 mpg will cost you $1000 or more this year.

13. Buying, leasing, or renting a vehicle? Select a model that gets better fuel economy. Check out www.fueleconomy.gov, for information on fuel-efficient vehicles.

14. Take advantage of 2007 federal income tax credits that reduce what you owe to Uncle Sam or increase your tax refund by $250 to $3,400 for purchases of hybrid-electric or diesel vehicles. Amounts are based on the vehicle’s efficiency and fuel savings. Details in English and Spanish on the Alliance’s Web site –www.ase.org/taxcredits.

Information in both English and Spanish on valuable federal income tax credits for purchasers of hybrid-electric or diesel vehicles at www.ase.org/taxcredits.

Test your “Energy IQ” and take the 6° of Energy Efficiency Challenge at www.sixdegreechallenge.org to learn how your energy use and energy waste affects your community, the nation, and the planet – and how being more energy-efficient contributes to our nation’s economic and energy security.

The Alliance to Save Energy is a coalition of prominent business, government, environmental, and consumer leaders who promote the efficient and clean use of energy worldwide to benefit consumers, the environment, economy, and national security.

For more information, visit http://www.ase.org/

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