I commute every day to my job, which here in our lovely paradise usually consisted of roughly a fifteen minute sojourn, in fact I was previously fixated with getting to work in as little time spent as possible As of late, I have slowed my speed down to between 45 and 55 miles per hour while on the Melvin Evans Highway and almost immediately I realized a 25 or so percent increase in my fuel efficiency–on the whole, I normally had to refuel every seven days–now it's twelve or so.
As an engineer, I often contemplate how to save on energy costs. I observe an awful lot of large type government vehicles which are more often than not, single occupant vehicles. Large vehicles which seldom if ever observe the posted speed limit (my topic of interest is not so much the speed but the rate of fuel consumption at that speed) and whiz by us on some unknown official guise or purpose. They are not alone. They are most often joined by a large sector of the population who follow the same traffic flow and speed–all the while singularly occupied.
For openers, our Legislative and Executive Branches have proclaimed that they are steadfast and resolute in their attempting to alleviate the public's plight with regard to energy costs; why then are they driving vehicles which are occupied singularly and operated at "break-neck" speed? Why don't we dump all of these large type gas guzzlers and substitute them with smaller more efficient models which give the taxpayer more bang for their buck? Daily we witness the various overtures and obvious grandstanding with regard to answers to our energy crisis–here's one from a simple marine engineer that's guaranteed to save hundreds of thousands of dollars, maybe even more: set the thermostats in all government buildings to 78 degrees Fahrenheit. Then let's sell off as surplus–all of the large type SUV's and the like. Let's then enforce the 55 miles per hour speed limit for all to obey, except in emergency circumstance. In fact, let's set as a target a reduction in government vehicles say by a realistic seven percent a year over the next three years. Hummm, what would that saving be, I wonder.
Simple measures like closing the blinds to obstruct direct sunlight in offices is another easy way to save. While you are at it, why do elected officials have to use air transport between the islands in our territory—going by ferry would be cheaper and more efficient. It would also help the ferry operators–without subsidy. It's a plainly established fact that sea-borne transport is far more efficient than air-borne transport–the same goes for our Constitutional Delegates–just look at the accounting–say for arguments sake.
In the end run, it is my firm conviction that a floating partnership between WAPA and a certain coal-fired concern would greatly improve electric rates on our island, why hasn't this been accomplished; why haven't our elected officials and other high-ranking interested parties began touting that remedy?
Charity begins at home–let's all work together to trim our rapidly escalating energy costs.
Joseph P. Stropole
Frederiksted, St. Croix
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