gas conservation tips and ideas...
Riding through the bosque on a Fall day.
ZipLube/JiffyLube is just one of the places here in Albuquerque where you can get your tires inflated when you get an oil change. (Click on Locations)
However, if you want to do it yourself, here's a tip:
You will need to stop at a station with an air pump (fewer and fewer free ones exist) and have a tire gauge in the car (pic above). Fill tires to the pressure recommended by your car manufacturer.
A tire pressure information sticker is usually located on the driver side door jam or inside the gas door. They may have both cold and hot weather suggestions.
Note: Ziplube also recycles used oil!
Contact us today with your ideas or suggestions.
For great information on our bus system, check out this wonderful blog...Big Albuquerque-like Things (BAT).
A recent survey of 400 Albuquerque voters indicated that 73% of those surveyed were either very concerned or somewhat concerned about being able to keep up with rising gas prices. (Check here, for the best gas prices at stations near you)
Reducing demand by only 4% might make a difference in gas prices, but to seriously reduce greenhouse gases responsible for climate change, make a dent in Peak Oil or reduce our use of foreign oil, we must do much more:
If you are looking for a new car, buy or lease the most fuel efficient car you can find. Our Prius gets 50-55MPG (ABQ city driving - 3 year test). Remember, however, that it takes approximately 840 gallons of oil to manufacture a typical new car, so other options such as converting to bio-diesel, keeping tires adequately inflated, turning the car off when parked or at long stop lights, etc. are great initial steps until it is time to trade. See Fuel Efficent Cars and Alternative Fuels.
For the best tips, read, "Gas saving tips: What works … and what doesn't". Surprisingly, there is some disagreement about the inflated tire suggestion. Or another good list is available from the ACEEE.org site.
* Cold starts: drive off as soon as possible after starting.
* Drive smoothly and efficiently: avoid harsh acceleration and heavy braking.
* Travel at slower speeds: driving at 70mph uses 30 per cent more fuel than driving at 50mph. See Speed kills MPG.
* Turn off the engine when parked and don't carry unnecessary weight.
Just an aside: It has been reported recently that lawnmowers generate as much CO2 in a 30 min. period as a car does on a 150 mile trip. If you are in the market for a new lawnmower, think about electric or better yet...HUMAN powered.
If you don't have to drive, don't. Ridesharing, biking, taking the bus or the new Rail Runner are excellent opportunities to reduce our carbon footprint.
- At a minimum, start making lists and consolidate trips. Pick up the dry cleaning, milk or cat food on the way to work or soccer rather than making a special trip. Be creative and substitute items in recipes rather than going out for just one missing ingredient. Just having the goal of reducing one or more trips a week will make a difference. Check out listings on ERideShare.com to see if you can carpool.
- Walk or bike to your neighborhood store once a week for fresh fruit or milk ala the european way. Take a backpack, stroller, cart or cart helper so several items can be comfortably carried home (saves on bags and "paper or plastic" decisions). Combine dog walking or eliminate a trip to the gym and you have made up for the extra time expended. We found an outstanding cart made in Canada...very expensive but so very "chic".....now gone. Bummer, as it could have started a whole movement all by itself. Biz idea, anyone?
Check out the city bike trail maps (use PDF magnifier glass to see specific areas more clearly) and Bike ABQ for inspiration and fun activities. Need or want a little "electric assist", Try an electric bike hack.
- Gold Star Resource - Check out Albuquerque's CarPool Program, Bus Routes and Schedules, Rapid Ride, the Bike and Ride Program, and the NEW Mexico Rail Runner Express with connecting bus routes. We are very lucky to live in a community where so much hard work has gone into alternative transportation options.
- Planning and design was underway for Albuquerque’s Modern Streetcar project before its recent setback. This system was planned to move people along the Central Avenue corridor between the BioPark and Nob Hill, and from the University of New Mexico to the Albuquerque International Sunport. It offers a very energy efficient transportation alternative. Check out NM Rails.Org for more information and a way to get involved.
- In the Netherlands, Life Runs on 2 Wheels (Sometimes)
- Person Rapid Transit...a look into the future
- Public Transportation: Fast Track to Fewer Emissions and Energy Independence
- Suddenly It's Cool to Take the Bus - BusinessWeek
We recently took a ride on the Rail Runner Express to Los Lunas. It was somewhat exciting as someone decided to place a HUGE tractor tire on the rails so the conductor had to get out and make sure the train was not damaged and it was safe to proceed. On the way back, the AMTRAC was derailed at Alvarado station which caused another small delay.
I was impressed with a person I met living in Rio Rancho that worked in Los Lunas. He put his bike in his truck and drove to the Bernallilo station (4 Miles), then took the RR Express to Los Lunas and rode his bike the last two miles to his job. He missed all the traffic and has lost 10 pounds!!! The Santa Fe leg is hugely popular.
Just a note on fares: Bus fares are a $1 per ride for adults and you can bring dollar bills or tokens purchased earlier. If you must change buses to make it to your destination, you may be charged again. A route up and back with one bus change each way could cost you $4.
There are student passes or monthly passes ($28) that will cost much less if you decide this is a good way to get to work or school.
Rapid Ride buses along Central (from Unser to Wyoming with a turn around at Uptown) come every 10-15 minutes. The bus stops are Red, labeled Rapid Ride and easily reconizable. If you catch another bus and want to take the Rapid Ride from the Alvarado Station, walk towards 1st Street. Rapid Ride buses going East stop along the west side of the Alvarado station (1st) while buses going West stop along the north side of the station (Central) and across the street. Rapid After Dark runs every Friday and Saturday night until 3:00 a.m. from Memorial Day Weekend through Labor Day Weekend. If you don't live near the route, use one of the two Park & Ride locations and avoid the traffic and parking nightmares.
Schedules for regular routes vary from 15 minutes to an hour. Print the schedule and take it with you. Regular bus route stops are marked on the map, but you can request a stop (pulling cable) at any of the locations where you see the small blue bus signs along the road.
Tip: Check out possible stops (blue signs) BEFORE your trip. I got off at a designated stop on the map only to realize that there were three more possible stops much closer to my destination.
Start an innovative community project....and get to know your neighbors. Many of our subdivisions in the Albuquerque area have neighborhood associations. Haven't been to meetings in a while? Start now.
- Put together a presentation on Peak Oil, Climate Change, Conservation or Sustainability to share with neighbors at a HOA meeting......or even better get a group of students together in the neighborhood to research and present the information. Believe it or not, there are still many people who do not comprehend the importance of these issues.
Gold Star Project - Take your presentation to your school and get a class or grade involved in a project to make a difference. They will come up will better ideas than we have and will reach more people. Be sure to report back your results as we would love to hear them.
- Get together with neighbors or the whole association and watch informative movies such as an The End of Suburbia: Oil Depletion and the Collapse of the American Dream now online at U-Tube (52 min.) , Nova's Dimming the Sun (available on video) , or The Power of Community – How Cuba Survived Peak Oil. Bring the popcorn or wine. Make an action plan.
- Suggest a Sustainability Committee to creatively reduce gas usage/emissions in your area including a survey of neighborhood driving patterns (frequency and destinations). An analysis of the results might yield some common times, locations and activities. A list of neighbors (addresses/phone numbers/email addresses) with common activities could then be distributed to small groups. Armed with good information, the possibilities include the following:
More Neighborhood Ideas (click on tabs for more info)
Gold Star School Walking Program ...
If the school is relatively close, set up a program where parents alternate WALKING the kids to/from school or the bus stop. This will provide safety, exercise AND a great teaching opportunity if the carbon/gas savings are discussed (See Peak Oil and Climate Change). A recent visit to a nearby school with 30+/- cars parked and engines running for AC was a little discouraging, especially since it is likely that many of those same parents/kids could benefit from and often PAY for exercise opportunities. The St. Pius X newsletter recently reported that the juniors are working on a Safewalking/Safebiking program for the school.
School Ride Share Program ...
Families with school age children could set up a ride sharing program for classes and extracurricular activities with a list of other neighborhood parents to call. Information could be calculated and presented to each family about the potential gas savings and positive impact accrued, based on the actual yearly mileage saved. Note: if just two people participated, there is a 50% reduction....well, at least for the two of you. If the program is expanded to larger numbers, an extra parent with a cell phone could go along in each vehicle as a safety measure with participants that are not as well known to the group. (This might be an excellent way of putting some of those larger vehicles to good use. )
Work Ride Share Program ...
Neighbors that work in the same proximity could also ride share. We may know where our immediate neighbors work, but could be surprised that someone three streets over goes right by our workplace everyday. While certainly not a new idea, cell phones make this old idea more efficient, since a simple call 3 minutes before arriving can mean that riders will be waiting by the curb. Email could also be used the night before to notify the group about schedule changes due to illness, etc. No interested neighbors? Sign up for ABQ's CarPool Program.
Shopping Ride Share Program...
Ride sharing or even taking orders for trips to Costco, specialty stores, dry cleaning, and exercise centers (okay, no comment at this point) could also be easily implemented with an email list. If you knew you were going to Costco on Saturday for that special cheese you love and emailed everyone the night before to see if anyone needed something, you could earn a brownie point and would deserve a return favor. Hold a homemade ice cream social to honor the neighbor with the most points. Needless to say, neighbors with special challenges (older, disabled, sick) could truly benefit from a system like this. Involving young people to stop by for their "orders" could teach community values.
Planet Friendly Neighborhood Activities ....
With a neighbor list and hopefully lots of new friends, you can share eco-friendly resources. Call a neighbor to go to the nearest growers market on a Saturday morning or offer to take orders for the fresh produce available. Introduce a neighbor to the bike trails near you or take a bus trip together to a shopping center or concert. Try the new Rail Runner as a group. Take a bike ride to your nearest Flying Star on a Sunday morning with a neighbor. Sometimes, all we need is a little nudge. Doing something for the first time is always more fun with a friend.
Activities like these will make our neighborhoods safer and more cohesive, in addition to achieving the goal of sustainability. Some of these suggestions are harder than others. Start with even the easiest one, and you will be MAKING A DIFFERENCE.
It is good bet that you have even better ideas than the ones suggested. Please let us know your ideas and/or feedback on what you have tried in your area.
Email us at: mysuggestions@sustainable.ABQ.com