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hybrid-car Photo by:Solarnu

In the pass months the price of oil has been rising steadily throughout the Caribbean and the world to a greater extent – reaching record breaking prices. Just this week the Dominica government announced yet another increase in fuel cost. One gallon of gas in Dominica is now stands roughly at ECD$15.00.

Though we can’t control the price of fuel on the world market, but we think of ways on how we can conservation fuel. This will not only be helpful to the environment, but also on your wallet.
I’ve mapped out some helpful ideas which can help drivers conserve fuel and get better fuel mileage.

One thing that most drivers on a whole are not aware of is, great fuel conservation starts before you even get on the road:

  • Service your vehicle regularly, and you will observe a 5 to 25 percent increase in gas mileage.
  • You should check you tire pressure once a month, also keep them aligned and inflated properly – because having tires with low pressure can increase your use of fuel by 5%.
  • Replacing your air filter every now and then is also a helpful.
  • If you are not using your roof-racks, take them off! They add to drag. Unnecessary weight in your car can also take away from good gas mileage (this does not mean that you can throw your sister out of the car to conserve fuel… although, it would help! 😆 )
  • Another way to start good fuel conservation is to plan ahead. Combine your errands into one trip. Think about riding your bike, walking, or riding the bus when possible and reasonable.

Fuel conservation can greatly be improved while you are driving or at the pump:

  • Slow down! There is a reason why you be racing to a gas station when your vehicle is on empty – you are not going to get to a gas station faster by driving faster when the faster you drive the more gas you use! In simpler terms, your fuel usage will greatly decrease when you are driving at speeds above 55 mph. Besides, you will have a safer drive when you slow down, too.
  • Avoid rapid accelerating. In fact, you ought to let up on that accelerator (by driving slower), and when you use the accelerator, use it gently. Maybe that’s why it is called “stepping on the gas.” The harder you step on the gas, the faster you use up your gas. Relax your driving style. Don’t drive aggressively. Accelerate slowly. Driving aggressively can lessen your fuel conservation by 30-40 percent…yep it true.
  • Do not idle. Most cars nowadays no longer need to warm up to run.
  • Turn off your car when you are waiting for someone.
  • Fill up your tank early in the morning and on cooler days. The colder the gasoline is – the more compact it is… you will therefore end up getting more fuel mileage for your money.

Fuel conservation may seem like a long road, but even just doing a few of these things can really help improve your gas mileage. You could possible improve your fuel conservation by 40% or so by following some of these tips.

All of the tips on fuel conservation that we have given you so far have to do with the vehicle that you already have. But if you are planning on going out and buying a new vehicle, consider a vehicle that conserves fuel by design.

If possible and you can afford it, check out the hybrids or smaller cars. A hybrid vehicle may cost more at the onset, but you will surely save money in the end, especially if gas prices continue to rise. If you’re looking for a simple car and don’t need a ton of horsepower – you will get better gas mileage.

Now go out there and start conserving fuel! Or if you’ve some of your own fuel conservation tips, please share them in the comments.

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Dominica has a serious need for consumer protection. In countries as near as Barbados consumer bodies have challenged the role of companies acting as cartels in the way in which prices are controlled within a small market.

The truth is we need competition. We saw what happened to the price of mobile phones and the cost of telephony. We also see how food prices are maintained by the wholesale and retail communities. It would take one new entrant into this market with little regard for the cozy relationships which govern importing food into this island. The result will be a sure movement downward for prices.

Government cannot be blamed. They are powerless to act other than in facilitating competition. It is those very immigrants to sell to the Dominican consumer. Low priced imports which compete with high priced name and now name brands. The effort to have people consume local is admirable and has plenty merit. However the buy local message will be seen as hot air when the price of buying local is as high as or ever higher than buying imports.

When the IMF made its contribution to the think tank on our economy, it has to be remembered that they were extremely keen on cutting import barriers. The IMF was not concerned with cutting our import bill since it is the IMF paymaster countries from which we import heavily.

The argument that the region is suffering this situation is a credible one. The Caribbean region has the same problem throughout! Whether it is Barbados or St Kitts, food importation is done be a select few. There is little competitive battle in food importing and retailing in the Caribbean. Indeed it is almost like one big family, whilst their customers, disorganized and increasingly cash strapped, stumble their way through the Caribbean experience.

In Dominica here is no quick fix. Our economy could well turn into a barter economy as the prices of commodities go higher and higher. For those Dominica who have a steady income it is frightening to consider how the less fortunate survive. Buying local is not enough. Supporting each other and also becoming less wasteful of food is important.

Keeping a check on price changes and comparing throughout is also a good idea. Maybe one day the patterns will encourage a group of like minded citizens to create a Consumer Watchdog. One thing is for certain, change cannot happen without resistance.

This article was taken from THE TIP – Wed 12/12/2007. THE TIP is a free publication, published every Wednesday and distributed throughout Dominica. Design and Printed by – PrintXpress

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