The Hudson River Valley, which my organization strives to protect, covers an area larger than the state of Connecticut. This means I have to do a lot of driving. I'm also an outdoors fanatic, so for a long time I drove a mid-size SUV. It allowed me to go anywhere without worrying about getting stuck in winter's snow or spring's mud. (Mother Nature supplies plenty of both to these parts.)
However, convenience came with a price -- low gas mileage. With pump prices at record highs, I was ready to purchase something more economical. I had another goal in mind, too -- significantly reducing my contribution to global warming. That's why I now drive a hybrid sedan, whose power comes from a gas engine and an emissions-free electric motor.
The car's certainly not sporty, and it has some disadvantages. It sits too low to the ground; it even bottoms out on dirt driveways. And while snow tires make a big difference, I won't be tearing up any icy mountain passes. But I do get 50 miles per gallon -- and the satisfaction of knowing that my car is emitting a fraction of the planet-killing carbon of most other cars. Not everyone can afford a hybrid, though if you buy one, you may be eligible for a federal tax deduction.
But there still are ways you can improve your gas mileage, keeping more money in your wallet andâmost important -- helping save the Earth. Here are some tips from www.fueleconomy.gov:
The U.S. accounts for 20 percent of the world's greenhouse emissions. While we wait for government solutions, we can start chipping away at that figure each time we get behind the wheel. We also can look forward to 2010, when General Motors plans to introduce a hybrid car that gets 151 miles per gallon.
Even with all the driving I do, with mileage like that I'll be going to my barber more often than I fill up at the pump.
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