Conserving gas: 'Every little bit will help'
State group offers tips to conserve gas, save money

LAWRENCEVILLE - Melvin Smith of Loganville had one word for the nearly $4 per gallon gasoline he bought Thursday afternoon - ridiculous.

In response to the rising gas prices and sentiments like Smith's, Conserve Georgia, the state's conservation initiative enacted in April, issued fuel efficiency driving tips this week which might assist Georgians in conserving whatever gas they can.

"Implementing some basic fuel efficiency measures can help Georgia drivers save money as the price of gasoline rises," said Chris Clark, executive director of the Georgia Environment Facilities Authority (GEFA) in a statement. "Saving fuel also conserves our natural resources and helps keep Georgia a clean place to live."

Of the things drivers can do to save gasoline, some tips include removing unneeded items from the trunk, avoiding idling when waiting for more than a minute and driving sensibly by reducing speed.

According to GEFA, gas mileage usually decreases rapidly at speeds more than 60 mph. The statement said that for each five mph over 60 mph, drivers can pay up to 20 cents more per gallon. It's that logic that led GEFA to act through the new conservation program.

"It does seem pertinent given the current gas prices," said Shane Hix, GEFA's director of public affairs.

Hix also said the Conserve Georgia program not only applies to gasoline usage, but to all land, water and energy activities. He said Georgians could expect much more from the initiative in the fall through an increased marketing campaign. In the meantime, he said people should check the Web site - www.conservegeorgia.org - for more energy saving tips and conservation information.

"The site has lots of resources," he said.

Another approach at conserving fuel is the method Smith is employing. He's only driving when absolutely necessary.

"I'm just taking it to work and to go home," he said of his car.

E.O. Vick of Auburn was filling his 2008 Chevy Tahoe. Getting about 15 miles per gallon, Vick appeared proud while pointing at the FFV label emblazed upon his sport utility vehicle. Standing for flex fuel vehicle, Vick was pumping ethanol-based E85 into his ride for the very first time. According to GEFA, there are now 12 fuel stations in Metro Atlanta offering the 85 percent ethanol, 15 percent gas mixture. As a result of using the E85, Vick was saving himself 50 cents on the gallon when compared to regular unleaded gasoline.

"Every little bit will help," he said. "I hope it's going to work. It's supposed to be the same."