Digging In and Digging Out

Early Friday morning, I took my Toyota in for its 30,000 mile service and as I always do, ran home (no big deal, it’s only 3 1/4 miles). On top of the $604.81 bill at Toyota, that same day I got a taste of the new $3.29 a gallon gasoline, and frankly, don’t see any difference from the $2.29 a gallon or the $1.29 gallon gas.

If I were so inclined, I would be writing a newsletter about being fit and green, but I will leave that for some expert on the subject. I can just give a few examples and observations of things that help. In my case, I didn’t require another vehicle to drive me home (the Courtesy Shuttle) or get a ride (another vehicle making two trips to Toyota), so I did a little bit. I coordinated my return trip to Toyota with a trip to the Doggie Park nearby, in effect, carpooling. Instead of filling up my tank, which I do about once a month, I got half a tank of gas and that will help some more because I also intend to try to cut my driving in half. In Albuquerque, buses all have bike racks on the front and that same morning, I saw a guy with his mountain bike waiting at the bus stop and I presumed that he was taking the bus to work and then riding home (that way, you don’t have to deal with the sweat obstacle) and he was doing his part.

With the economy ailing and in serious but stable (hopefully) condition, personally I think that we need to dig in and dig ourselves out of this mess. Gas and food are two really big expenses and the former rising in price is driving up the cost of the latter. We need to eat enough to survive, so I am not suggesting eating less, but maybe we could do a little “spring cleaning” with our driving habits. Can we put them on a “diet” and cut out some unnecessary gas using? I coordinate trips and don’t leave the house unless I can do a number of things in the same part of town. I did my new business cards all by email and I am doing my new T-shirts all by email, too. Is there any chance that one of these is an option for you – telecommuting, e-commuting, e-work, telework, working at home (WAH), or working from home (WFH)? My job allows me to work from home and that is why I only have to buy gas once a month and hopefully you can ask for and be granted that same opportunity by your employer.

Digging in can take lots of forms and digging us out of this mess is something that we can all help in doing. Part of the problem is definitely the energy crisis, but if in our efforts to ease the money crunch created by high fuel costs we get creative, spend more time outdoors for recreation, walk, bike or run a little more, then our ingenuity will actually end up benefiting us. We have the opportunity to make the laws of supply and demand kick in and the cost of crude oil to come down. But instead of going back to our old habits, maybe we’ll just keep being creative and conserving fuel while at the same time seeking out alternatives. Fast Company empowers innovators to challenge convention and here are some of their “Alternative Green Machines“. Maybe one of them will “empower” you, too!

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