City leaders should lead on gas savings

Published 12:00 am Sunday, June 29, 2008

With gas prices climbing like kudzu up the Natchez bluffs, our community needs to get serious about reducing fuel usage before we’re buried beneath a mass of winding and twisting fuel bills.

Perhaps no better role model exists to lead that effort than our local governments.

City, county and parish leaders need to put immediate measures in place to curb fuel use while continuing to provide essential services.

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Some of the options are no-brainers.

First, public workers shouldn’t take vehicles home unless it’s really likely that they’ll be called out from home for emergencies.

Note that the measuring stick for this shouldn’t be “ever” called out for emergencies, but “likely.”

We have a number of agencies that feel like the fact that they have access to a public vehicle means it’s theirs to use as they see fit. Well, we hate to break it to you, but it’s not.

It’s a public vehicle and its use needs to be limited to public needs only. No trips to the grocery store or even to get you, Mr. or Mrs. Worker, to and from your house.

The rest of us drive ourselves to work and you should, too.

Obviously, a few exceptions exist.

Police and fire vehicles need to remain in almost constant use, however, even with those, we may find ways to reduce our usage.

Smaller engines which benefit from improved fuel mileage just makes sense.

Gone are the days in which police officers need vehicles that can “outrun” bad guys. In most cases, criminals cannot outrun the radio and the “net” of force it provides.

Let’s use technology and our brains to fight back the kudzu before it overcomes us all.