Yesterday we made our monthly visit to Costco (where fuel is usually 10¢ a gallon cheaper than it is at normal gas stations), and decided to go ahead and fill Mary’s car up even though we still had 1/4 of a tank left. Even at their deeply discounted price, the cost around 13 gallons of gas was over $50! Compared to other states, Georgia’s gas prices are actually surprisingly low, but even here they’re expected to rise to $4.50/gallon this summer!
In our current economic times, everyone is looking for ways to save money, but it seems that there are a lot of misconceptions out there about fuel economy. Fortunately, the American government has a website called FuelEconomy.gov, which offers a great overview of the various facts and myths about conserving gas:
• Using Premium Fuel Improves Fuel Economy– Totally false. If you believe this, I know some BP executives who have a story about the Gulf oil spill not impacting wildlife to sell you.
• Vehicles Must Be Warmed Up In Cold Months Before Being Driven– Also not true. The only reason to warm your car up is so you’ll be warm and the windows will defrost. If you really want to conserve energy, use a jacket for the former and a pitcher of hot water on the latter.
• It Takes More Gas To Start A Car Than To Let It Idle– This is one of the biggest misconceptions about fuel economy. Idling uses 1/4 to 1/2 a gallon of gas in an hour, costing a couple of cents per minute. So if you’re stuck in stop-and-go traffic, it’s probably not worth it to stop and restart your car, but if you’re going to be idling for more than a few minutes you probably want to shut it off.
• Aftermarket Additives Can Improve Fuel Economy– There are tons of “miracle products” that make bold claims about improving gas mileage, but both Consumer Reports and the Federal Trade Commission have refuted such claims. The only thing these products do is lighten the load on your wallet.
• Tips That Can Actually Save You Money On Gas– Drive sensibly (aggressive driving lowers gas mileage by 33%), maintain a steady speed via cruise control, remove excess weight (an extra 100 pounds in your trunk reduces your mpg by 2%), use overdrive gears, keep your engine properly tuned, keep tires properly inflated, use your car’s recommended grade of motor oil, and consider upgrading to a hybrid vehicle such as a Prius. If we had a fleet of 50 mpg cars on the road today, we’d save more oil annually than there is in the entire Gulf of Mexico! –Bret Love
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A “fun guy” once told me that mushrooms deserve more than the occasional appearance on a veggie pizza. Ranging in taste from meaty to fruity, mushrooms have endless cooking possibilities. And, better yet, they also have a whole host of associated health benefits.
You may have heard that common mushrooms, including buttons and portobellos, contain natural carcinogenic toxins that require them to be cooked prior to consumption. But there’s good news: There are many varieties of mushrooms which have equally strong anti-cancer properties. Other healing powers of mushrooms include lowering cholesterol, boosting the immune system, controlling blood pressure and reducing inflammation, just to name a few.
However, if you’ve ever purchased exotic varieties at a specialty grocery store or market you’re probably familiar with their high price. But there’s more good news! With a log and less than $10 worth of spores, you can create your very own mushroom farm. Shiitake and oyster are the most common log-cultivated mushroom varieties and make great first-time growing projects the whole family will love.
WHAT YOU’ll NEED:
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For anyone who has ever tried to boil water over a campfire, portable stoves may seem like a convenient luxury employed only by seasoned campers. But did you know that you can make your very own compact stove using only household tools and a couple of tin cans? We recently saw a great video on making your own camping stove from The Outdoor Adventure:
What you’ll need:
• 4” and 3” diameter unopened tin cans • 1/8” and 3/8” drill bits • tin snips • file • drill • can opener
• Begin by removing the lid of the larger can, making sure to preserve the top rim of the lid. This can be accomplished by using the can opener with gears facing downward to cut along the side.
• Center the smaller can on top of the large lid and use a file to score around it where the can will attach (it will likely fit nicely into the grooves of the lid).
• Punch holes along the scored ring on the lid, and use tin snips to cut out the center circle. This ring will attach to the larger can and house the smaller can, so ensure the cut is smooth and even.
• Remove the lid of the smaller can, and with the 1/8″ bit, drill many holes throughout the bottom to allow for ample airflow.
• Use the same bit to drill a ring of holes at the top of the small can, approximately 3/4″ apart.
• Use the 3/8” bit to drill a ring of holes approximately 1” apart on the bottom of the small can and drill a second ring with half as many holes just above that. Drill matching holes in the larger can.
• Slide the lid ring up the smaller can until it rests just above the ring of small holes at the top. Punch four small holes above the ring from the inside out to hold it in place.
• Crimp the top of the larger can inward to support the smaller can, then place the smaller can with attached ring inside it. You now have a personal wood gasifier stove!
• Fill the small can with slender pieces of wood and bark and ignite from the top. This will be sufficient fuel to boil a pot of water, which will take less than 10 minutes with your new stove.
• A third large can with both ends removed can be used as a pot stand. Simply make cuts halfway down the can and bend the flaps outward. –Holly Young
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We here at Green Global Travel are all in favor of romance (our site was founded by a couple whose last name is Love, after all). But let’s face facts: Valentine’s Day is without a doubt one of the most consumer-driven holidays around. Between the paper greeting cards, boxes of chocolate, flower bouquets and exquisitely wrapped gifts, it can quickly become one of the worst holidays for the health of our environment. Fortunately, the solution doesn’t have to be swearing off Feb 14th celebrations altogether. Instead, check out Tiny Green Bubble‘s for green Valentines Day ideas, including our three favorites below:
People love coffee: In some countries, average consumption per person per year totals more than 10 kilograms – that’s nearly a thousand cups per year!
When composted, all those coffee grounds make a great source of slow-release nitrogen, or can be diluted with water for a fast-acting liquid fertilizer. Worms love the grounds too, so they can be added to vermicompost systems or directly to the garden to naturally promote worm activity. The acidity can also help correct alkaline soils while simultaneously promoting larger plants and blooms. The beans shouldn’t get all the glory, though – wet filters also degrade quickly when composted, but unfortunately end up in the trash all too often.
But there’s an easy solution: reusable coffee filters. Even better than being merely reusable, filters made from hemp are also sustainably-sourced. Some even insist that hemp fibers contribute to a better-tasting cup of coffee, too. The filter simply needs to be rinsed after each pot is brewed for a long-lasting, durable alternative to conventional paper filters. And at less than $10 a pop, reusable hemp filters are good for your wallet, too. –Holly Young
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GO GREEN TIP #59: Reuse Coffee Grounds