I N · T H I S · I S S U E
It may be an oxymoron but this piece is on “conscious driving,” both doing less of it and doing what you need to more efficiently.
Disappointed I was this past week when I read an LA Times article titled, “Drivers are burning a little less gasoline.” Gotta be good, I thought. Due to two years of record high prices, Americans are driving less for the first time in two decades. How much less? 0.4% nationally and 0.6% in California. A pittance.
Shocked I was: The first “good year,” but less than 1% less driving despite overwhelming national security and the climate change impacts facing our nation. Isn’t it necessary to get out of the single digits of change? Compelling cases are being made that we need bigger levels of savings: 5, 10, 25, and 50% and more. Auto makers understand big changes: Chrysler officially joins Ford and GM with record losses, while Toyota and Honda have enjoyed a marked up-tick in sales of hybrids.
But far from rational, long-term decision-making, Americans are responding to prices. Record-high gas prices had a near-immediate effect: Riders on LA Metrolink trains increased more than 6% in 2006. In Tulsa, Oklahoma, bus rider-ship increased 28% when gas topped $3.00 a gallon. There has already been an erosion of this “drive less” trend since prices have fallen. Is price the only thing “driving” our behavior? If so, hold the phone! Pump prices may drop below $2.00. Must we suffer a quick erosion of progress? The average American driver drove 13,700 miles in 2005. How many do you drive?
Next is what you drive and how you drive it. Many EcoMotion members drive hybrids. Our Prius gets 44 – 50 miles per gallon, depending on conditions and who’s driving, continually clarified by an on-board computer and real-time efficiency dashboard display. On a recent trip to Santa Barbara, I got an average 50.3 mpg. This EcoMotion-record mileage was likely due to my “light-foot” driving style -- easy on the accelerations with plenty of time to slow down. Purposeful: Not only gas saving – Chevron estimates 5-10% fuel savings by going 60 mph versus 70-80 – but I’m exercising my option for a less stressful voyage.
The Prius gets more than twice the gas mileage of average vehicles. That’s a 50% efficiency gain from technology. Now add on the behavioral savings of “conscious driving,” a 6 mpg differential adding another 20% savings, a combined progress report of about 60% less fuel than average use. That’s stark contrast to the nation’s paltry 0.4% reduction. Join the team that’s driving less, efficiently, and with a conscience.
New Research Associate: Tiffany Tay
EcoMotion welcomes Tiffany Tay to the team. Tiffany hails from Monterey Park and in addition to acting and music performance, she’s passionate about writing. A recent UCLA graduate in English, Tiffany will be responsible for updating The Results Center case studies of best practices.
She will head up a team that will be searching for results for 126 cases studies, making hundreds of phone calls, and bringing this body of knowledge – involving thousands of the most successful efficiency and green power professionals and programs -- up to date. Concurrently, Tiffany will be digging in and identifying current best practices for new case studies in development.
Feel free to give Tiffany a call at (949) 450-7106 or to send an e-mail to TTay@ecomotion.us with program nominations of best practices with solar power programs, energy efficiency, and carbon mitigation.
Banning Incandescent Light Bulbs?
California Assemblyman Lloyd Levine (D-Van Nuys) has proposed legislation that would make California the first state to ban sales of incandescent light bulbs. Levine claims that banning incandescent bulbs and replacing them with compact fluorescent lamps, "saves consumers money, saves the state money and saves energy." The measure is called the “How Many Legislators Does it Take to Change a Light Bulb Act."
He explains that, "When a consumer is standing in a store and they're confronted with two different products, they generally opt for the one that is cheaper. The problem is: The other one is cheaper over the long run."
The California Energy Commission estimates that if Californians switched completely to compact fluorescent bulbs, it would avoid the release of 1.8 million metric tons per year, equivalent to shutting down one or two gas-fired power plants. California emits about 500 million metric tons of greenhouse gases a year. Commissioner Art Rosenfeld notes that’s banning the bulbs may not be the way to go, but he’s “thrilled that Levine is starting the debate.” Other policy approaches include community outreach, tax credits, and rebates.