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As the cost of oil continues to rise, what are you doing to conserve energy?

Asked at Massachusetts Street on October 15, 2004

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Photo of Meagan Finger

“I just don’t drive around as much. Now that I can’t afford gas, I walk a lot more.”

Photo of Jack Hope

“I already remodeled my house to be more energy-efficient, and I’m voting for John Kerry.”

Photo of Toni Wheeler

“I’ve been keeping the thermostat a bit lower than I usually do.”

Photo of Sue Osborn

“I have a pellet stove to cut down on propane costs. I’ve probably been spending about 20 percent less than I used to, but it is almost impossible to use less gas because of where we live.”


Adam 13 years, 2 months ago

I try not to get off the couch unless it's absolutely necessary. I find this conserves a lot of energy.

Kyle Rohde 13 years, 2 months ago

Oh Jack, I'm glad you're voting for John Kerry. Because the day he becomes President, gas will magically be $1 a gallon. The only reason its higher then before is because President Bush is in cahoots with the oil companies. It couldn't have anything to do with India and China using an incredible amount of oil. Or nothing to do with the culture that's been bred in this country since the early 90's that says "buy whatever huge vehicle you want because gas is cheap."

By the way, my truck gets 15 mpg. And to answer the original question, I'm doing nothing differently. Though this winter, I'll probably keep the thermostat around 65 instead of 70.

Richard Heckler 13 years, 2 months ago

We had Sears Home Improvement install some awesome energy star windows in our house with an easy pay plan. Then we changed out many high use/high wattage lights for energy star light fixtures which are not that expensive...though certainly not free.

rohdek may be correct on the gasoline situation. OPEC countries and U.S. oil corporations have enjoyed watching us pay whatever for gas and reporting huge profits. Our van remains parked more often as we drive our 4 cylinder pick-up truck.

Also sweaters, sweatshirts and blankets around the house IF we watch TV.

The oil countries cannot take on our military but they can take on our wallets. Going into Iraq eliminated one source of competition and we were buying Iraq oil. Hey George about a little diplomacy instead of threating to attack more oil countries.

Then our government offers a huge tax credit for Hummers instead of Insights or a Toyota Prius which average 70 mpg in town. I say why not offer a tax credit for a bicycle.

We have been walking more to downtown which is about a mile and a half one way which after eating on a Friday evening actually feels good when we arrive home. The coolish weather will be excellent walking weather.

italianprincess 13 years, 2 months ago

Being a single mom, I just hope and pray that its not to bad this winter like some are saying its going to be.

I think I will take the advice here and leave mine on 65 also. I work at home so there is no driving for me. But I do own a daycare, so keeping the house toasty for the children is a must. Not to mention my own kids need warmth also.

Lulu 13 years, 2 months ago

Since Shrub is getting his Saudi friends fat at the loss of the American people, I have decided that bundling up and turning down the thermostat to 62 degrees is the only solution, until the American people get John Kerry in the Whitehouse. It will be perfect timing especially since he will be taking over the whitehouse in January, the coldest month of the year. We need John Kerry to win. He is a man of convictions and he follows his mother's advice everyday, integrity, integrity, integrity.

I guarantee you gas prices will be lower with John Kerry as President! I can't wait!



mr_daniels 13 years, 2 months ago

You Liberals out there are entitled to conserve yourselves into the another ice age if you so wish. But until we decide as a Nation that we either choose to develop our energy resources or except more dependence on OPEC then our days as a leading developed Country are numbered. Once Kerry drains our Strategic oil reserve, we become TOAST and have nothing to fall back on. China and India are waiting to overtake Progressive Socialist Kommunist Amerika! Heh! Heh! Heh! You have been warned...again!

Bush 04

mr_daniels 13 years, 2 months ago

Christy_K needs to go back to class and study Economics 101! Her class battle with Capitalism vs. Socialism is so boringly obvious. Taking Christy_K's argument to the full...why is it Christy_K that when Socialists are in charge; only Socialists have job? Could it be that without free enterpirse there would be only big government to give you work? Socialists have no need for free enterprise. Christy_K would be have to work for the STATE Enterprise. And Christy_K truly understands history, and knows that politicians like Cheney and Bush, have often used tiheir positions in government to boost their own personal profits and those of their constituents. HUH!!! However Christy_K concludes that a Kerry administration would be any different! HUH!!! Alternative fuels are out there now. Ethenal or gasahol are available now. Pay the price to purchase a vehicle that will drink the stuff though! Today's alternatives are mostly now cost prohibitive, who has that kind of money? Everyday folks? Don't think so!

Good day all!

Carmenilla 13 years, 2 months ago

I've turned down the thermostat to 67. But I hate to be cold! Also, we drive a fuel efficient car. I get about 325 miles to the tank. We try not to drive once we get home since the "little things" we might need are all within walking/biking distance. Keep warm everybody!

Punkin 13 years, 2 months ago

I have taken a different job, which allows me to walk to work instead of commuting 30 miles each way.

It's a joy to wake up later, relax at home and have a lovely walk to the office instead of struggling with gridlock traffic and frequent stops at the gas pump.

I use my car for groceries and errands only, now, instead of feeling like I live in my car. This week, I used less than a 1/4 tank of gas. Yippee!

Redneckgal 13 years, 2 months ago

Crossing my fingers and hoping for the best this winter. Thats about all you can do. I thought about getting rid of my pick-up but I decided I'd about as soon push my truck as drive a rice burner.

blackwalnut 13 years, 2 months ago

John Kerry has a better plan for making the U.S. energy-independent than George Bush does.

John Kerry has a better plan for holding corporate America accountable for their own polluting ways. In this respect we've gone backward under Bush.

No more American kids should have to die for this country's insatiable thirst for oil!

italianprincess 13 years, 2 months ago

Electric blankets are what I'm going to be buying soon for this coming winter.

They should at least keep us all warm at night, then set the therm at about 65 - 67 and see how things feel during the day. I work at home, so its ran all day here. I drive only on the weekends to and from the stores for this and that. I can fill mine up for about 20.00 now.

I wonder when gas will go down some????????

Christy_K 13 years, 2 months ago

I am lucky to live within two miles of work, so I bike, walk or take the bus. If you are healthy, you have no reason not to leave your car at home when living so close. However, I do make up for it when I drive long distances to see family and do my Army Reserve drill, once a month.

For those of you who think any president can change gas prices, you are misinformed. Big coroporations and greedy oil companies are in control of this and I personally believe, while their expenses have gone up, they are artificially raising prices so that their profit margin isn't affected. Of course, it would be nice to have an administration who wasn't so heavily involved in those big corporations. Anyone who truly understands history, knows that politicians, like Cheney and Bush, have often used their positions in government to boost their own personal profits and those of their constituents. However, I doubt Kerry's administration would be any different.

What this country really needs to do is force car companies to use alternative energy for cars. The technology already exists, hybrid and electric cars are already on the road. They just don't have a support structure yet. There is no reason not to switch our cars over. This way we can save petroleum for those products, like plastics, where you can not substitute oil and its by products. You don't need gas to run a car but you do need petroleum to make plastics. This way we can cut our depdency down to a reasonable level without having to significantly affect our life style choice. Americans aren't ready for that yet. Truthfully we have only ourselves to blame for what we pay at the pump. We made that choice when we chose where we live, what we drive, and when we blindly stand by and allow large coroporations to rob us blind.

Carmenilla 13 years, 2 months ago

That's impossible....You can't control yourself.

Hi_Jinks 13 years, 2 months ago

Christy_K....... As you say, there are hybrid cars on the road now. But they cost thousands more than their gas-only siblings. Take the Honda Civic for example. A gas-only Civic LX runs about, what? 16, 000 sticker and probably 15, 000 or so sale price. ---That's an upper end model (LX with automatic transmission, AC, etc.) You could buy a low-end Civic (with a stick shift) for a lot less! Meanwhile, a hybrid Civic is listed at, what? 19,000 or so? (maybe slightly more or less depending upon the market area). Now all Civics get great gas mileage. If you could buy a low-end Civic for around 14, 000, and lets say it gets about 38 to 40 per gallon on the highway.......You'd have to do a whole lot of driving (With gas being $1.90 or so) to spend the difference in price between that car and a 19,000 dollar Civic hybrid. (BTW, I've been told Honda dealers don't discount the price of their hybrids as much as their gas-only Civics. So you need to keep that in mind!) Currently, it would take you years to make up the difference in purchase price for that hybrid Civic to pay for itself! So, right now, in 2004, it just doesn't make economic sense for someone to by a hybrid car.---And Honda and Toyota know this! They realize that it is still going to be several more years (at least) before their hybrid cars become truly an attractive alternative to most fuel conscience car buyers. And this scenario I've just given doesn't even include all of the late model used Hondas and Toyotas that get great gas mileage too, that cost many more thousands less than a new hybrid or electric car! In addition, there are a whole lot of homes on the east coast that are still heated with home heating oil!--And that reality isn't going to change overnight!---This is something that also needs to be discussed/considered when you talk about America's dependence on lots of foreign oil! It isn't just those "gas hog" SUV's. (I'm just stating that for the record, and for what it's worth.) Sure, this country needs to depend less on foreign oil.....But hybrid and or all-electric cars aren't going to put even a dent into our dependence on copious amounts of foreign oil any time soon. (No matter who's occupying the White House come this January 20th!) So....the only realistic alternative in the forseeable future for the US, as far as cutting down on oil dependence/consumption is concerned, would be for people to buy a car or truck that currently gets the best gas-only mileage possible. New, used, whatever.

If a person needs a truck or SUV, then buy a truck or SUV that gets the best mileage compared to other trucks or SUV's. Sure, all SUV's consume lots of fuel, but if you could buy a new SUV that averages 17 miles per gallon as opposed to one that averages 15.....well, then, by all means, that person should buy the one that averages 17 miles per gallon. If lots and lots of people do this, the savings in fuel consumption (collectively) will add up for sure!

mrcairo 13 years, 2 months ago

I drove a big-ole SUV this week on a business trip. The thing ate gas like nobodys business. Took $25.00 to fill it up from the 1/2 guage.

Thank God I drive a Toyota. I can fill it up for $14.00 and go for ever on that tank of gas.

Do yourself and the country a favor. Dump your gas hog and buy a Toyota. It's becoming a matter of National Security. But wait - the Presidents answer is to give tax breaks to companies who buy these gas hogs. Duh. He should give tax breaks to us who conserve.

Kyle Rohde 13 years, 2 months ago

There is also a tax credit for those who buy hybrids. The credit all of you keep referring to for big vehicles was not intended to be used for Hummers. It was intended for people who really need big trucks (farmers, tradesmen), to help them get their jobs done better and move ahead in life. Some people just abused a loophole that was created when SUV's kept getting bigger and bigger.

Hi_Jinks 13 years, 2 months ago big/substantial is that tax credit? Could you expalin further? I'm curious. Is it enough to make a hybrid like the Toyota Prius or Honda Civic hybrid much more affordable to someone who is on a budget and is looking for a far more fuel efficient auto mobile?

Kyle Rohde 13 years, 2 months ago

Check out that site Hi_Jinks.
Personally, hybrids are still way too expensive to warrant buying one. I think most of the people who buy them are doing it more for a fashion statement then actual savings. Now the new Ford Escape hybrid and the 2006 Lexus RX300H are different. They are hybrids that actually make a much bigger difference. They take SUV's that get in the high teens in the city mileage and get mid 30's with no loss of performance. That's impressive, and both will qualify for the tax break as well. For someone on a budget, go buy a Honda Civic HX (the most fuel efficient non-hybrid Civic) for $14,000 and get 40 MPG. That's close to hybrid performance for a LOT less money. Or look at a diesel Volkswagen.

Kyle Rohde 13 years, 2 months ago

Gas will never be back down to the $1.50 range, we might get $1.75 this winter.

Italianprincess, wouldn't running your electric blankets offset turning down the thermostat??

Tamara 13 years, 2 months ago

I cannot believe all the Kerry supporters that think the gas prices will change if he is elected. Do you even realize that we never have, and probably never will get the good majority of our oil from Iraq?

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