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GPS helping to cut down on oil dependency

You hop in your car, set up the GPS for the best route to your destination, and then let the voice of that global positioning system guide you the rest of the way. In the meantime, you are becoming part of a widespread network of GPS users who get where they need to go without taking a longer route or getting lost, thus limiting the chances of wasting gas for no reason.

It’s becoming apparent to global economists that what has become a fairly simple means of finding the fastest, least-congested routes to work and recreation destinations has become a significant factor in a movement that ultimately lessens America’s fuel consumption and the need for foreign oil. Imagine the trucking industry and how it has been able to cut back on diesel fuel usage by cutting back on unnecessary miles by using a GPS.

GPS is just one example of the fuel-efficiency trend. Among others:

* The railroad industry is starting to use lighter rail cars, more-efficient locomotives and friction-reducing rails to cut fuel consumption.

* The dawning of the E-ZPass or other electronic systems for collecting tolls. The end of long toll booth lines in some of the nation’s most seriously congested tollways has cut down on wasted fuel in a dramatic fashion – millions of gallons per year, by some estimates.

* The Kiplinger newsletter reports that by the 2016 model year, automakers will have to achieve average fuel economy for their passenger cars and light trucks of 34.1 miles per gallon, up from 27.3 mpg in the 2011 model year. This means auto companies will have to improve their models’ fuel efficiency by 4.3 percent each year between now and 2016.

* Please Conserve has reported in the past about the coming of electric cars and the promise of battery-powered vehicles bringing fuel efficiency to a new standard – using no gasoline at all. Meanwhile, the news generation of gas-electric hybrids offer 40 mpgs or more.

* The number of miles people are driving started a downward trend five years ago, and with the cost of gasoline skyrocketing again, this figures to continue.

* The green economy calls for vehicles that run on natural gas, but also on ethanol distilled from corn. It is certain that the use of ethanol will continue to grow from its current 10 percent, particularly with the Environmental Protection Agency approving a 50 percent increase in the amount of ethanol that refiners can blend into regular gasoline.

*Biofuels are another phase coming quickly, with fuels being created from grains, non-food materials and even stuff we are currently throwing into landfills.


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