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Drivers can fight gas prices by conserving

The Olympian (Olympia, Wash.)

Gas price increases continue their record-breaking pace, with even regular unleaded inching over the $2 per gallon mark late last week.


And there appears to be no immediate end in sight to the price increases. Some are predicting the price could reach $2.25 by this summer's peak driving season.

Ouch again.

Commuters, businesses, government agencies and school districts all are feeling the pinch. Some companies, including delivery services and transportation companies, have initiated fuel surcharges to help cover the extra cost of doing business.

Consumers have few tools at their disposal to combat the pocketbook pinch.

But there are a few things they can do.

One course of action is to cut down on unnecessary trips. Consolidate errands and, better yet, tack them onto the end of the daily commute. Such a move not only saves gas and money, it also reduces traffic congestion and curbs air pollution from vehicle emissions.

Soaring gas prices also provide an added incentive to make sure your car maintenance is up to date. Even something as simple as tires inflated to the proper pressure improves gas mileage.

Here's an appealing one: Slow down. Cars typically consume less gas at slower speeds. Driving within the speed limit makes the roads safer for everyone, too.

With gas prices climbing, now is a great time to look at alternative modes of transportation. Carpool it. Ride a bike or walk or use Intercity Transit.

Alternative transportation has never looked so good.

And while it's hard to find the silver lining in the dark cloud of escalating gas prices, one quickly comes to mind.

  • Higher gas prices should serve as an incentive for the production and purchase of more fuel-efficient vehicles.
  • Maybe that brand-new SUV isn't so necessary after all.
  • Higher gas prices should spur interest in hybrid vehicles, ones powered by a combination of gasoline and electricity.
  • This state already ranks fourth in the nation in sales of hybrid vehicles.
  • There's no reason to think the demand won't continue to climb.
  • It's incumbent upon the auto manufacturers to keep up with the higher demand.

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