Opinion – how the city & county can improve your car’s mileage

With gasoline over $3.50 a gallon, your vehicle’s efficiency has a pronounced effect on your wallet. Some of you may have to make a choice between buying groceries and drugs versus taking a trip to see mother on Mother’s Day. Any improvement in your car or truck’s mileage means less will be spent on gasoline. So, how can you make that improvement?

Obviously, changing the way you drive will help. Reducing your speed and acceleration, anticipating stops ahead and “coasting” instead of braking hard, maintaining the proper pressure in your tires, taking the shortest route to your destination, and avoiding those routes that involve stop and go traffic will all help. For those of you who frequent the streets and roads in Vicksburg and Warren County, however, there is much the mayor/aldermen/supervisors can do to reduce your expenditures for gasoline – and reduce air pollution as well.

Each time you apply the brakes on your vehicle you, in effect, negate the energy required to bring the vehicle up to speed. As you accelerate after braking or stopping, that energy (in the form of burning gasoline) is required to once again bring your vehicle up to speed. So, additional gasoline is burned, and additional pollutants are spewed into our air (a vehicle is least efficient when accelerating, making the problem that much worse).

An example will serve to illustrate: Suppose you were traveling Washington Street from just south of the old Mississippi River bridge with the intersection at Clay Street as your destination. Further, suppose you are forced to stop at every traffic light and stop sign along the way (which is too often the actual case). In the process you would have been stopped at eight traffic lights and three four-way stop signs. Now, suppose there were no stops required along this same route. The difference? Better mileage and less air pollution when no stops are required. How much? Perhaps 25% or more.

Obviously, not all the traffic lights and stop signs can be removed. But there are many whose elimination would improve traffic flow at a very minor inconvenience to vehicles entering from the affected intersections. There are traffic lights and four-way stops all across Vicksburg and, to a lesser extent, Warren County, that can be replaced with simple two-way stops. Additionally, there are inefficient “left-turn protected” traffic lights that can be replaced with simpler “stop or go” lights to improve traffic flow; the inconvenience to travelers would be minimal.

Naysayers would argue that the risk of accidents would be increased by removing these impediments to traffic. However, it is a proven fact that many more people are sickened or killed by air pollution than traffic accidents, so wouldn’t an improvement in the quality of our air more than offset additional accidents (even though the assumption of more accidents is dubious)?

Many of these traffic controls would never have been installed if engineering analyses had been performed to determine the effects not only on traffic flow and safety, but to balance against them the detrimental effects on automobile efficiency and air pollution. Only due to apathy, and perhaps ignorance, do they remain.

1) Your opinion is invited. 2) If you concur, which traffic controls would you remove?

Published in: on May 6, 2008 at 12:42 pm  Comments (4)  

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4 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. I have a scooter I brought from another state. I was able to get a license plate for Mississippi yet I can not find a place in Vicksburg to get it inspected.

    Any recomendations?

  2. With gas here now 3.63 it’s time to indenifitely repeal state,federal and see if’s there local tax on gaseline. And to carry it further to the local politicians is to demand before both boards that the locals would like to see more competition at the gas pump. People are fed up with the local monopoly of gas. And force upon the city and county real change. By the way expect tourism to be drop with high gas prices. But real compition at the pump should be the real demand.

  3. COMPETITION (as in to compete), yes. Great idea.

    Looking forward to Kroger to open it’s pumps!

  4. Why aren’t the local car dealerships not selling Vesper scooters,smart cars and Mini Coopers?

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