Pain at the pump an incentive to commute green

With gas prices inching upward, consumers should know there are things they can do to reduce the pain at the pump. The buzz is that gas prices could sore to $6 if, say, a hurricane were to strike an oil rig off the Florida coast. If the upward tick of gas prices is crimping your style, consider riding a bicycle, the bus or carpooling to work. The Santa Cruz County Regional Transportation Commission's website – at www.scctrc.org – can help you map the best bike route, bus schedule and find a carpool mate. If those options aren't an option, the commission offers the following tips to help reduce your fuel consumption, thus saving you some green.
  • Avoid quick starts and sudden stops. Driving like a jack rabbit can reduce fuel economy by up to 33 percent, according to the Department of Energy.
  • Drive the speed limit or close to it. Every 5 mph over 60 mph is the equivalent to paying an extra 24 cents per gallon of gas.
  • Maintain your vehicle. Automobiles that are in disrepair produce more exhaust emissions and consume more fuel. For example, a faulty oxygen sensor can cut your gas mileage by as much as 40 percent.
  • Ditch the gas guzzler and buy a greener car. For households with more than one vehicle, use the green car for running errands.
  • Plan your trip in order to drive fewer miles, avoid high traffic areas and times of day. Several short trips that begin with a cold engine means your vehicle can use twice as much gas as a single longer trip with a warm engine.
May is Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month With May and warmer weather around the corner, that means more people will be riding around on motorcycles. Below are some riding tips from Scotts Valley Police Lt. John Hohmann:
  • Do not ride above your skill level.
  • Do not ride like you are on a race course. Go to a track if you want to race.
  • Smooth is fast. Riding fast for the sake of speeding will eventually come around to bite you, you know where.
  • Anticipate road hazards at every turn and intersection. Have a plan in unanticipated situations.
  • Ride in a position that you can make eye to eye contact with the drivers ahead of you and be in a position that allows for a rapid avoidance of hazards.
  • Look before you make turning movements.
  • Keep your head on a swivel and scan the horizon for potential hazards. Be aware of your surroundings.
  • Any alcohol consumption and riding motorcycles do not mix.
  • Think safety when dressing to ride.
  • You are responsible for the safety of your passengers.
  • Take additional riding courses.
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