Conserve gas, drive less

An Edwards Airman refills his vehicle tank with gas from the AAFES Car Care Center here. (Photo by Bobbi Zapka)

An Edwards Airman refills his vehicle tank with gas from the AAFES Car Care Center here. (Photo by Bobbi Zapka)

EDWARDS AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- "Gas prices are ridiculous."

There is little doubt this sentiment has been expressed by every person swiping a credit card at the gas pumps. With gas prices more than 20 cents higher than they were after Hurricane Katrina, it may seem like there is no relief in sight.

It's all about supply and demand. Americans are using more gas than ever, and the world's oil supply is now more limited.

There is one obvious solution to ease the financial burden of getting from Point A to Point B -- drive less. The less gas vehicles consume the less gas drivers have to purchase.

Instead of driving, on-base residents might consider walking, running or biking to work. Not only does it leave the car in the garage and gas in its tank, but it contributes to physical fitness as well. Two-vehicle families deciding to get to work through exercise every day can make money by selling the extra car.

Commuters to Edwards may find gas savings through an office carpool. A great percentage of Team Edwards workforce lives in Rosamond, Lancaster and Palmdale. It's much more economically and environmentally sound for four people to ride to the base in a single vehicle. It also saves time spent waiting at the gate in the morning since guards only have to check one vehicle as opposed to four.

Driving less may seem like a giant step to take, but exercising and carpooling aren't the only ways to reduce gas consumption. A few changes in how we drive can help as well.

Drivers who consistently allow their vehicles to coast to the red light or stop sign before braking increase their fuel efficiency and decrease their average number of trips to the gas station per month. Accelerating toward a red light or stop sign wastes fuel.

Using cruise control on the long straightaways here and off base can help save fuel. Not only does it keep vehicles at the posted speed limit, but it also prevents the driver from wasting fuel due to increases and decreases in speed.

Keeping your vehicle well-maintained, including regular tune-ups and checking tire pressure, can also increase gas mileage.

And, slow down. Driving at or below the speed limit makes a difference, both in gas mileage and safety.

These ideas may not have any effect on gas prices, but it may help keep more money in your wallet.