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Lead fuel may be a thing of the past, but the lead foot continues to thrive, and can be found on any part of the globe. Gunning the engine, racing to the next stoplight, and weaving in and out of rush-hour traffic are unsafe practices that also waste gallons of gas. Want to squeeze the most fuel economy out of the vehicle you own? Try altering the way you drive.

Slow down…

In the 1970s, the U.S. government reduced the speed limit to 55 miles per hour on all highways. Neither safety nor the environment were the concerns. Because of an international embargo on oil, gas in the U.S. was in short supply, causing long lines at the pumps across the nation. Driving slowly, the government knew, was one way to conserve what we had.

And it’s true: driving slower than the current highway speed limit of 70 mph consumes less fuel. The folks at Edmunds.com tested 3 types of vehicles on a 100-mile highway journey, and found a significant difference in savings (up to 14%) between the tests at 75 mph and 65 mph. Others have estimated that drivers will spend 54 cents a gallon for every 10 mph driven over 60.

Fuel economy decreases more rapidly the faster you drive, mostly due to wind resistance. The faster you drive, the harder the air in front of you pushes back. For example, a much greater amount of fuel is spent between 70 and 80 mph than between 60 and 70 mph. This exponential increase means those with lead feet have the most to gain by slowing down.

Avoid Quick Acceleration

Jeepney drivers in Manila like to put the pedal to the metal between stoplights, racing as fast as traffic allows, stopping suddenly when red stoplights can see the whites of their eyes.

This constant stopping, starting, and racing in between is one way to spend more gas than you have to. Do the herky-jerky and gas mileage decreases by 33% on the highway and 5% at city speeds.

Flooring the pedal from any speed and stopping on a dime doesn’t help conserve gas. Slowly ease forward when the light turns green, without causing yourself to feel like you’re being pushed back into your seat. Keep two car lengths behind the car in front to avoid sudden stops on the highway, and ease off the gas pedal well before a red light.

Keep Your Cool

Does rush hour traffic adversely alter your personality? Not only does it require those neck-snapping movements mentioned above, it may also turn on some internal competitive hot button in your brain. I’m going to get there fast, and I’m going to get there first!

Aggressive driving is one of the worst gas wasters as driving methods go, according to tests by Edmunds.com. Stop all that weaving and surging and you can realize significant savings of up to 37%. To maintain optimum mileage, turn on the cruise control for highway driving when traffic allows. If you have to commute to work, consider altering your work schedule to avoid rush hour traffic.

Conservative driving will reduce more than the amount of gas you have to put in your car. Driving moderately and safely creates less pollution and makes the world a happier, more peaceful place. If you don’t believe that, take a trip to Manila. 🙂

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When A Friend Moves Away: Nurturing Longtime Friendships

Friendships are one of your life’s most precious gifts. Knowing someone for many years and sharing good times, bringing in the New Year, taking trips together, births, deaths, and your personal feelings, creates a bond that can be as strong as the closeness you feel to your blood-relatives.

Because ties to another person can run so deep when an extraordinary friend moves away, it can feel like a tremendous loss. But there are concrete measures you can take to ensure that you and your friend remain close to one another in spite of the miles that separate you.

Before your special friend packs up and moves away, a going away party is always a fantastic way to let him or her know how much this close relationship has meant to you. It’s time to invite all your friend’s office buddies, family members, and your mutual friends to a party. This type of farewell can make a situation that is bittersweet become a symbol of how appreciated and loved the guest of honor is in your community.

You may want to hold the gathering at your home, a restaurant, or another public party space. Along with refreshments and appetizers, it’s always fun to have a festive cake decorated with the honoree’s name and a symbolic saying or figure that everyone at the party will recognize as emblematic of their friend’s personality, vocation, or pastime.

Guests may bring small, thoughtful gifts for the friend who is moving away, such as:

• an address book with everyone’s address, email moniker, and telephone number
• a journal in which every guest can write a short “goodbye” note
• a picture frame in which to put a group picture of everyone at the party

Or, everyone can contribute toward one present such as a gift card for buying items for the new home; a set of leather luggage tags; or a work of art by a local artist.

Don’t forget that as hard as it may be to have a close friend move away, the anxiety and stress of moving to a new location, a new job, and making new friends are even more troubling for the mover.

Some things friends can do to alleviate the hassles of moving include:

• offering to help pack up household items
• watching the friend’s children for a weekend so he or she can work on organizing for the move
• taking a supper to the friend’s house for a few days before the move
• researching family-friendly activities in and around the area to which the friend is relocating

It might be fun to set up a flexible schedule of calls, emails, conference calls, and funny cards for a few months just so the friend feels supported, cared for, and thought about as he or she navigates the “moving to a new place” waters. Email, Facebook, texting, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, Pinterest, and so many more social media sites make staying in touch easier than it has ever been.

Though it may sound foreign in today’s culture, writing a note that is sent by “snail mail” can be a delightful surprise for your dear friend. Finding a card or letter in the mailbox is so rare that your friend is bound to be surprised and uplifted to receive a real letter or card.

Many friends plan an occasional trip together to enjoy a vacation and to catch up with what has transpired in their lives since they were last together. This type of in-person reunion always makes a big difference in ensuring that friendships stay vibrant and active. From going to a state park and camping together to meeting at someone’s home that is centrally located, finding a way to unite does not have to be exorbitantly costly or complicated.

Anyone who has a friend who moves away will experience these feelings:

• When you finally see your friend, you feel there’s a rush to make up for the time you’ve been apart.
• You’d really like for everyone else to not intrude on your catch-up time.
• You remember how really close you and your friend are.
• You realize that you always have each other’s backs.

Close friendships can survive, even across long distances. As a greeting card once said, “True friends are never apart. Maybe in distance but never in heart.” And, what about that old camp song? “Make new friends, but keep the old. One is silver and the other gold.”

It is worth every minute you invest in keeping close ties with treasured buddies, so do whatever it takes to make sure the ties remain tight.


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