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Saving Money and the Environment by Changing The Way You Drive


Today, NPR had an interesting story about “Hypermilers”, a group of people who try and get every last bit of distance out of each gallon of gas they use in their cars. In an ideal world, record high gas prices and the threat of global warming would inspire large scale systemic change where automobile companies produce ultra high efficiency cars, cities curb sprawl while fostering high-density mixed-use development, and where investment in mass transit is a top priority.
However, we don’t live in an ideal world. So, in the absence of that kind of change people can take it upon themselves, like these Hypermilers, to protect their wallet and the environment by changing the way they drive. What the Hypermilers are doing is a part of “EcoDriving“, a way of driving that decreases the amount of fuel you use and the quantity of greenhouse gas emissions that you emit. It’s not a substitute for deeper, big picture solutions that get to the root of these problems, but in the meantime, it sure can help.

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  • Hypermiling is a good example of high gasoline prices prompting efforts to save fuel in ways that don’t necessarily reduce traffic. It is a reminder that we should not assume that high fuel prices will rescue cities from traffic. Oil at $200 per barrel will not automatically bring about a livable streets renaissance. But there might be some opportunities too.

    I discuss these issues a little more at the Reinventing Urban Transport blog in a post on 12 June.

  • Rob

    I listened to this story yesterday while getting ready for work, and it just didn’t do it for me. It’s a nice idea, to be sure, and I salute these guys for changing their driving habits to get the most out of their existing vehicles. But it just felt like fluff. If someone is really serious about saving money and using less fuel, buy a bicycle, take public transport, work from home a few days a week. Coasting down hills in your light truck or SUV just doesn’t strike a ‘conservation’ chord with me. My 2 cents.