- Don’t speed. Gas mileage decreases rapidly at speeds above 60 miles per hour.
- Avoid quick starts and stops to improve gas mileage up to 5 percent.
- Turn off the engine to avoid unnecessary idling, which wastes fuel and pollutes the air.
- Use overdrive gears and cruise control when appropriate to improve fuel economy when driving on a highway.
- Clean out your trunk; an extra 100 pounds in the trunk can reduce fuel economy by up to 2 percent.
- Avoid loading items on the roof rack as it creates wind resistance and can decrease fuel economy by 5 percent.
- Tuning your engine according to your owner’s manual can increase gas mileage by an average of 4 percent.
- Keeping your tires properly inflated and aligned can increase gas mileage up to 3 percent.
- Change your oil. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, you can improve your gas mileage by using the manufacturer’s recommended grade of motor oil.
- Check your owner’s car manual for the most effective octane level for your car. For most cars, the recommended gasoline is regular octane. In most cases, using a higher octane gas than the manufacturer recommends offers no benefit.
Maggie Koerth-Baker at Boing Boing wrote an excellent piece on how nuclear power plants work. With the devestation of the earthquake and tsunami in Japan and the Japan nuclear power plan situation, this is a great read to get up to speed on the basics of a nuclear power plant.
For the vast majority of people, nuclear power is a black box technology. Radioactive stuff goes in. Electricity (and nuclear waste) comes out. Somewhere in there, we’re aware that explosions and meltdowns can happen. Ninety-nine percent of the time, that set of information is enough to get by on. But, then, an emergency like this happens and, suddenly, keeping up-to-date on the news feels like you’ve walked in on the middle of a movie. Nobody pauses to catch you up on all the stuff you missed.
As I write this, it’s still not clear how bad, or how big, the problems at the Fukushima Daiichi power plant will be. I don’t know enough to speculate on that. I’m not sure anyone does. But I can give you a clearer picture of what’s inside the black box. That way, whatever happens at Fukushima, you’ll understand why it’s happening, and what it means.
- Status of Fukushima nuclear power plants Sat. morning (search.japantimes.co.jp)
- How Nuclear Power Plants Work (theawl.com)
- Japan Tries To Reconnect Power To Nuclear Plant (npr.org)
- Update Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plants 19 March 2011, 14:00 UTC (truebluenz.wordpress.com)