Yesterday, I paid $4.05 a gallon in West Hartford to fill up the tank. That same gallon of gas was selling for $3.99 in Manhattan! Like all of you, the Houses are looking for ways to make the most of our fuel.
First of all, Kara and I love to walk, and leave the car at home as often as we can. When we lived and worked in downtown Hartford, it was easy. We walked to work, walked to the park, restaurants, the gym, the post office, the drug store and the list goes on. There were days when one of our two cars would actually sit unused for a whole week.
The new WFSB studios require us to drive about 24 miles round trip. 48 miles for the two of us. We work different hours so commuting together is not an option. 24 miles is not a huge journey, but it adds up, so Kara and I have looked at ways to get better mileage. I have found that driving the speed limit and using cruise control helps. Check out the picture above from our crossover. With careful driving, at times on the highway the MPG soars. On average both of our cars get about 28 MPG on the highway, which is the bulk of our driving.
In the meantime, we focus on driving less and driving better. We walk whenever we can. We often use Peapod for our groceries, which saves our gas, and presumably for the neighbors, too since we see the Peapod truck around the neighborhood.
There is still much more that can be done. We need more light rail service in our state. The bus system needs some work. There aren’t enough direct routes and too many transfers. Also, there should be big, simple maps posted like you see in New York and Boston with the MTA and MBTA.
The state should encourage developers and companies to locate near mass transit centers and in locations where people can walk to work. I was talking to an employee of MetLife recently, who told me he was not looking forward to the company’s move to Bloomfield. He told me he and others live downtown so they can walk to work, walk to lunch and leave the car at home. There needs to be more smart development in our state. A move to a place where everybody has to drive may make business sense for many reasons, and it is great for the oil companies, but it is hardly good for the environment.
There is also a move to build more bike paths, and there seem to be more bike racks nowadays. Check out the racks in West Hartford Center at Blue Back Square. A new greenway just opened in Hartford and more are planned. There is also a new push by Vespa to get more people to use their motorized bikes http://www.vespausa.com/ You see them on display throughout downtown Hartford at Stackpole, Moore & Tryon/Tuesdays and at Spris Restaurant.
In California there is a proposal to save gas by going to a four day (ten hours a day) work week. Employees would save thousands of dollars in gasoline by driving to work one fewer day. It’s not possible for all businesses, but it is something to think about.
Here is a link to some more info about hybrids and fuel technology.