Letters to the editor | VailDaily.com

Letters to the editor

Rachel Friede

In response to gas prices, the oil industry and global warming, I will be making a change to my driving habits and urge the rest of the community to follow suit. I am not suggesting a boycott of gas stations or any other such drastic measures, as I feel that all businesses in this community deserve the right to thrive. I do, however, feel that instead of complaining about these problems, I will be proactive and seek alternative transportation when I can. It may not be the most convenient method of getting from point A to B, but car pooling, taking the bus, riding a bicycle or simply walking have many other benefits that make up for any inconvenience. We need to commit to a reduction in driving as a means of reducing pollution, health risks and high transportation costs.The most obvious benefit of alternative transportation is money. Commuters can save money by reducing driving mileage thereby reducing gas expenditures. A person who commutes from Eagle to Vail will drive around 15,000 miles per year (five days per week 50 weeks per year, 60 miles round-trip). At $2.60 a gallon, a car that gets 20 miles per gallon will use $1,950 in gasoline. Car pooling will save at least half of commuting gas costs, as you will only be driving, at the most, half as much. Taking the bus will save this commuter even more. The annual cost of an ECO bus pass is $720, which will save about $1,230 per year. The benefits to the environment should serve as an even greater incentive. A reduction in the amount of auto emissions released in the Vail Valley would be a positive step towards reversing the negative effects of global warming and acid rain. As the valley reaches temperatures in the 90s for the 12th day in a row, we cannot deny that global warming has taken its toll. According to the EPA, driving is the highest contribution to pollution by individuals. While reducing auto emissions will not completely solve the problems of the environment, it will at least reduce pollution and its deadly effects. With global warming, the number of ski days will continue to decrease, and as a result, the local economy will suffer. This area was built on tourism and outdoor recreation. We must respect our environment in order to hold on to the attributes that make it special. Those who profit, both directly and indirectly, from the tourism our mountains and rivers bring to the area are prime candidates to give back to the environment by reducing auto emissions.A reduction in driving will also benefit your health. Pollution from auto emissions contributes to complications of asthma and allergies, and has been linked to over 1,500 types of cancer. Getting more exercise by riding a bicycle or walking can reduce risks of heart disease, cancer and obesity. If you must drive, there are a few ways to reduce your pollution contribution. Drive at a moderate speed, meaning 45 miles per hour, not 85 miles per hour. People live here to get away from the hustle and bustle of city life, so slow down. Also, reduce idling time, as idling for more than half a minute burns more gas than it takes to restart the engine. Keep your car in good condition and seek out cars with high gas mileage. Also, resist topping off your gas tank at the station, as much of this gas evaporates into the air anyways. Forget the gas station owners. They remain silent. I call on the residents of this community to seek alternative transportation whenever possible, as the benefits are quite clear. I also call on the business owners of the community to provide more incentive to employees to seek alternative transportation to work. Free lunches, bus passes or car-pool services are just a few incentives that can benefit your employees, as well as your business as a whole. Others may not change, but set an example by changing yourself. Rachel FriedeVailVail Colorado

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