Thursday, September 01, 2005

Katrina Backlash: Don't Buy Gas If you Don't Need It! Conserve! Be Efficient.

As I said two days ago, conserve gas. I just saw the president on Fox News. He announced that there will be a gas shortage in multiple areas of the country because of the damage to a major pipeline from the LA area to South East United States. Last night, reports showed gas stations charging as high as $6.00/gallon in Georgia and North Carolina.

The Colonial Pipeline is only at 50% capacity. President indicates it will be improved over the next "days", however, a source indicates that it takes "30 days" for gasoline to traverse the pipeline to it's final destination on the east coast, so the effect could be an issue for at least 30 days if not up to 90 days.

President Bush indicates that several things have been done to help alleviate the problem. First, requirements for gasoline purity have been waived in order to attract gasoline from foreign sources that do not follow our standards. He is also waiving the law that says only US ships can carry gas to inter-country ports because the US does not have enough ships to do it.

We should remember that the area effected by hurricane Katrina still needs large amounts of diesel and regular fuel to help with the rescue and relief efforts. Help out the effort.

Things you can do to conserve gas:

Don't panic! Not every area is effected the same as others. There are refineries in many areas that may be able to pick up additional gasoline production, though this may be limited. Do not cause a rush on gas stations. If everyone goes to buy gas in the next two days, it WILL have a drastic impact on gasoline availability in your area. Community leaders should ask people to stay calm and help keep their communities from bein UNNECESSARILY effected by inappropriate rushes on stations. These rushes will actually CAUSE a problem that might not otherwise exist in your area at this time.

Delivery of product takes time and is on a regular schedule to every area whether by pipeline, by truck, railroad or ship. Rushes on gasoline will make gasoline scarce in between the delivery and cause even more panic.

Conserve gas: If you were planning to go on a driving vacation, cancel or stay closer to home. Long road trips should be the last thing on your mind unless you are part of the rescue effort. If the store is within a mile or less of your house, walk or bike. You can do it. Do not waste gas to run down to the station for cigarettes or to the dry cleaner's around the corner. Walk.

Car Pool: If you haven't done it lately, you should really look into who lives in your area and works with you. Car pool to work, make sure your kids are part of a car pool for regular after school activities. Drastic measures could include neighborhood car pooliing to grocery stores or other important destinations.

Take Public Transportation: Get online and find the schedule for youf local public transportation. Get schedules. Ride the bus or train.

Get fuel and carb/injector cleaners: The new gas will be less pure than what your car (particularly new cars) are used to running on and may effect your gas mileage and performance. You will probably need to run one bottle every two or three tanks of gas.

Keep your tank topped off: Cars get better gas mileage on full tanks and this will reduce the amount of gas that you are buying at any given time. If you're in Kansas City or other areas that have experienced significant "winters", follow your standard mode for "winter" gas operations.

Update: More Gas Conservation Tips

Drive the Speed Limit: The faster you drive, the less efficient your car's engine is. "Aggressive driving (speeding, rapid acceleration and braking) wastes gas. It can lower your gas mileage by 33 percent at highway speeds and by 5 percent around town.

Fuel Economy Benefit: 5-33%
Equivalent Gasoline Savings: $0.11-$0.73/gallon

Highway Driving - Do not drive above 60mph. "Gas mileage decreases rapidly at speeds above 60 mph. Each 5 mph you drive over 60 mph is like paying an additional $0.15 per gallon for gas. "

Fuel Economy Benefit: 7-23%
Equivalent Gasoline Savings: $0.15-$0.51/gallon

Remove Excess Weight - Avoid keeping unnecessary items in your vehicle, especially heavy ones. An extra 100 pounds in your vehicle could reduce your MPG by up to 2%. The reduction is based on the percentage of extra weight relative to the vehicle's weight and affects smaller vehicles more than larger ones. Check your trunk and your back seat. What are you carrying? Keep only an emergency kit in the trunk. Remove all other items. Avoid carrying unneeded items, especially heavy ones. An extra 100 lbs in the trunk reduces a typical car's fuel economy by 1-2 percent.

Fuel Economy Benefit: 1-2%/100 lbs
Equivalent Gasoline Savings: $0.02-$0.04/gallon

Avoid Excessive Idling - Idling gets 0 miles per gallon. Cars with larger engines typically waste more gas at idle than do cars with smaller engines. If you drop someone off and are waiting for them to come back out, don't wait at the door. Find a place to park, roll down your windows and turn off the engine. Do not run you vehicle for 5 or 10 minutes to "cool" the interior.

Use Cruise Control - Using cruise control on the highway helps you maintain a constant speed and, in most cases, will save gas. (Try this at 60mph to get better gas mileage.) Leave early enough in the morning to avoid traffic jams where you may end up idling on the highway for 15 mins and so that you do not have to speed to make it the rest of the way.

Use Overdrive Gears - When you use overdrive gearing, your car's engine speed goes down. This saves gas and reduces engine wear. Many cars have regular drive "D" and overdrive "(D)". Make sure you are putting your car in the most efficient gear.

Tune Up Your Car: Replace sparkplugs, sparkplug lines, and air filters. Keep your tires properly inflated (see mfg recommendations usually on the tire; check the pressure regularly). Use the proper oil weight as recommended by the vehicle manufacturer.

Conserve Oil: Oil will also be in short supply so read your owners manual. They usually recommend at least a minimum time frame for oil changes and this can help conserve gas, usually around 3000 miles. But, it's a catch 22 since oil is an issue as well. The manufacturer may also recommend a "maximum" time frame to change oil. This is often around 5000 miles. If you are coming up on a 3000 mile change, you should consider pushing it back to the maximum time frame or some time in between. Do not recommend going above 10,000 miles before changes, particularly for older cars.

Note: Cost savings are based on an assumed fuel price of $2.20/gallon.

Other Suggestions -

Pack your lunch and don't go out or leave the office. If you must, car pool with one or more employee. As tempting as it is, don't go out and sit in your car running the air conditioner while you smoke or listen to the radio.

Go to the grocery store or other destinations in the evening. There are generally less cars on the road and thus, less breaking and acceleration (see fuel efficiency), less traffic to sit in and idle at the lights, intersections or other areas. Also, your car gets better mileage in the cooler hours of the evening, particularly if you are not using the air conditioner.

Fill your car at night or very early morning. Evaporation of gasoline is higher during the hot hours of the day.

If you have two vehicles, drive the one with the best gas mileage. Now is a good time to put the Hummer or Expedition on hiatus. Check the situation, but if you have diesel engine, that may also be an alternate choice since diesel is less scarce.

Conserve Energy: Turn up your thermastats, use fans, turn off the lights, reduce energy use. Some power stations are run on diesel turbines. We need to reduce the amount of fuel used to run these turbines.

Be prepared! Expect that there may be slow downs in other supplies and necessities to other areas of the country. The Mississippi as a transport route from a major port to the center of the US for distribution is now offline. Areas largely effected will be in the center of the US, but will effect out lying areas. Expect that railroad operations will increase as well as truck driving (if you're a CDL and unemployed, you can probably find a job). However, cost of products will continue to rise until the crisis is over. If you do not conserve gas, then the price will go up more and then food and necessities will be more costly.

Again, don't panic. It doesn't mean that we will not have food or fuel. It means that you should make appropriate plans, stay calm, stay home with your family.

Stay tuned for more information on what you can do to conserve gas.


Anonymous said...

Will Katrina force an Invasion delay?
The folks over at the cool Zap2it Fall TV blog bring up an interesting point. The new ABC sci-fic series Invasion centers on weird events that happen after a major hurricane hits the south.
Hello, just surfing the bolg sites. Landed on yours. Nice effort, like the layout, will check back soon.
I have a affirmations site. It is all to do with affirmations related things.
Check it out if you find the time :-)

Anonymous said...

IF anyone doubts that there are sporadic shortages they can come here to Lafayette, IN. Half the stations here were out of gas by 6pm Thurs.