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April 28, 2012 at 7:18am

9 Easy Tips to Save Money on Gas


While you can't do much about the global price of oil, you can take steps to reduce pain at the pump.

With current gas prices on the rise, you may be tempted to trade in your car for a scooter - or resort to pedaling your way to work.

Before you make any drastic financial or lifestyle sacrifices, consider these tips provided by the Environmental Protection Agency, fueleconomy.gov and gasbuddy.com.

1. Slow down.

Although each vehicle reaches its optimal fuel economy at different speeds, gas mileage usually drops dramatically at speeds above 60 mph. As a general rule, every 5 mph you drive above 60 mph is like paying an extra 30 cents per gallon of gas.

2. Be gentle.

Avoid jack-rabbit starts and sudden stops, which can lower your gas mileage by 33% on the highway and by 5% around town.

3. Lighten your load.

Try not to keep unnecessary items in your car, especially heavy ones. Each 100 pounds of extra weight can reduce fuel efficiency by up to 2%.

4. Scout out cheap gas.

Avoid gas stations in affluent areas and near major freeway exits. In major metropolitan areas, outlying suburbs tend to have the lowest gas prices, according to gasbuddy.com. If you're not in a hurry when traveling, drive a few blocks from the freeway exit to find lower gas prices. Also, avoid service stations with on-site auto repair shops, which often charge more for gas. Download the gasbuddy.com app on your mobile device to locate gas stations near you and see their current gas prices. If you don't see a download for your device, just go to m.gasbuddy.com, which can be used from any mobile device.

5. Skip traditional gas stations.

Check out wholesale clubs, grocery stores or department stores with gas stations onsite. These businesses often sell gas at discounted prices and may offer credit for in-store purchases when you fill up with gas.

6. Keep your older car in shape.

While traditional tune ups are becoming a thing of the past for newer vehicles, older cars with worn spark plugs, low transmission fluid and dragging brakes can suck your gas tank dry. Check your owners manual for recommended maintenance schedules and get regular engine checkups. Fixing a car that is noticeably out of tune can improve its gas mileage by an average of 4%. Fixing a serious maintenance problem, such as a faulty oxygen sensor, can improve your mileage by as much as 40%.

7. Avoid idling.

For every hour a car idles, between a quarter-gallon to a half-gallon of fuel is consumed. Restarting your vehicle only takes a few seconds' worth of fuel. However, restarting your car excessively can cause starter wear.

8. Don't neglect your tires.

Keep your tires properly inflated and make sure you have them aligned periodically. You can improve your gas mileage by around 3.3% by keeping your tires inflated to the proper pressure. Plus, properly inflated tires are safer and last longer. 

9. Choose the right oil.

All oils aren't created equal. That's especially true when it comes to engine oil. Using only the manufacturer's recommended grade of motor oil cited in your owners manual can improve your fuel efficiency by 1% to 2%

Filed under: Green Crush,

April 28, 2012 at 7:15am

JBLM has a hydro bus

As part of a Hydrogen Fuel Cell Initiative, Joint Base Lewis-McChord received a hydrogen bus last year to develop a route to take Airmen and Soldiers, civilian employees and family members around the installation.

The JBLM Duty Shuttle begins service on Monday. The two-route shuttle system will cover main roads from McChord Field to Lewis Main and Lewis North.

When establishing the route, officials at Directorate of Logistics thought about where the most Soldiers and Airmen were throughout the day, and where they most often need to go.

"The purpose of the bus is to get people back and forth between appointments during the duty day," Lt. Col. A.J. Mims, 627th Logistics Readiness Squadron commander and DOL deputy director, said.

The Blue Route will start at 62nd Airlift Wing Headquarters and make stops at McChord Health and Wellness Center, McChord Clinic, McChord Education Center and Madigan Army Medical Center. It will then turn around and head back to 62nd AW Headquarters with the same stops. The route will go through gates between McChord Field and Lewis Main but will not need to be stopped for an ID check, as riders will already have been vetted when they entered JBLM for work that day. The bus on this route is expected to be a Bluebird bus and not the one hydrogen bus.

The hydrogen bus will be used for the Green Route. The route will run from the Hawk Education Center on Lewis North to Madigan where it will pick up and drop off passengers who need to ride the blue route, and turn around to head back to Lewis North. Stops include Lewis Army Museum, Garrison headquarters, Waller Hall, Lewis Main Exchange, Stone Education Center and Madigan.

The busses will have signs in the window designating it the Duty Shuttle and there will also be signage at each stop with information on the bus and route times.

The bus routes begin Monday and will run from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday. They will not run on holidays, weekends or days with inclement weather. For more information visit: www.facebook.com/jblmcommutes or call 982-2684 (option No. 4).

Filed under: Transportation, Green Crush,

April 19, 2012 at 8:01am

MORNING SPEW: Washam fined, craft beer app, children-only airline flights ...

CRAFT BEER: There's an app for that.

WHAT WE HAVE FOUND TODAY >>>

Tacoma Takes The High Road: Cheney Stadium Sustainable Stormwater Project is actually cool. (Weekly Volcano)

Checking In With Wily Washam: Pierce County Ethics Commission says Pierce County assessor-treasurer Dale Washam used public resources for campaign purposes in an effort to unseat county Prosecutor Mark Lindquist. (News Tribune)

Oh Lovely: Anders Behring Breivik, who admits killing 77 people in Norway last summer, used the video game Modern Warfare 2 as training. (CNN)

Oh Lovely II: India successfully launched a missile with nuclear capability and a 3,100-mile range, giving it the ability to strike Beijing and Shanghai. (The New York Times)

Pulitzer or Peabody?: Colbert and Huffington debate. (Poynter)

Families And Flying: Should airlines offer children-only seating areas and flights? (Huffington Post)

Which Cities Are Setting Music Trends?: Not the ones you'd think. (Time)

Because 50 Isn't Enough: 53 reasons why we need a new Star Trek TV series. (Huffington Post)

Record Stores: Popular musicians come clean with their favorite records stores. (Pop Matters)

Got 99 Cents And Love Craft Beer?: There's an app for that. (Craft Beer App)

April 16, 2012 at 8:53am

MORNING SPEW: Puyallup woods, Exit 133 closure, female 'Entourage' and more ...

FINGER FOODS: Not as cool as Tacoma Restaurant Week. Photo courtesy of BuzzFeed

WHAT WE HAVE FOUND TODAY >>>

Screw You Concrete: The City of Puyallup to buy nearly 9 acres of wooded land that's part of the Maplewood Springs watershed. (News Tribune)

Exit 133 Will Be Closed at Night: WSDOT show you how to navigate the closure. (News Tribune)

Thank You Bill And Dr. Jo Harding: Tornado warning system had helped prevent a higher number of fatalities over the weekend in the Midwest. (The New York Times)

Ballsy Write Offs: Fancy dresses, boob jobs, body oil ... (Neatorama)

Rad Rides: The best BMX bikes of all time. (Cool Hunting)

Finger Foods: Tony food sculptures that look good enough to eat. (Buzzfeed)

By The Book: David Sedaris, the author of Squirrel Seeks Chipmunk, on his reading habits. (The New York Times)

Oh Gees: Robin Gibb is in a coma after contracting pneumonia. (USA Today)

Did You Miss Radiohead's Set At Coachella? It's on YouTube. (Pitchfork)

Female Version Of Entourage: HBO will let you in on the secret lives of Girls. (Zap 2 It)

Happy Monday!

March 14, 2012 at 6:53am

5 Things To Do Today: Ecosystem science, "Hope in Hard Times," Big Friction Jam, "Anna Karenina" and more ...

Puget Sound: It takes a beating.

WEDNESDAY, MARCH 14, 2012 >>>

1. The Puget Sound is on the mat starring up at Climate Change in tights, mask and cape on the top turnbuckle and its going to receive a hard elbow. Then Over Population will raise Puget Sound above its head and throw it into a metal chair. In a full sprint from the dressing room Pollution will toss Puget Sound back onto the mat, then stomp, gouge and pin it. The Puget Sound is gonna go, well, there you are, I'm finished, sorry, and walk out. Today, from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., the Puget Sound Science Panel will meet in the City of Tacoma's TAGRO office to review and discuss the scientific aspects of a regional plan to prevent Puget Sound from leaving. The meeting is open to the public. Bring your knee pads.

2. America's ineffectual government, led by an unpopular president, is helpless to combat meteorological catastrophe; meanwhile, avaricious bankers rape the working class. The insulated elite barricades itself behind gilded walls, while haggard masses wander aimlessly, scavenging the ravaged landscape. This isn't an allegory for The Walking Dead. It's the story of this country's Great Depression. The Washington State History Museum examines the era through The exhibit, Hope in Hard Times, and how ordinary people worked for change in their communities, pulling together to find ways to deal with the crisis. A billy club used during the 1934 "Battle of Smith Cove," WPA artifacts, and everyday items are among some of the objects showcased in this exhibition. The paintings and sketches of Ronald Debs Ginther, also featured in the exhibition, comprise one of the most complete visual records of the Great Depression. Take a walk through from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

3. Despite the philosophic passages, introspective musings, pageantry, and Russian geography of Leo Tolstoy's supreme achievement in novel form, Anna Karenina is also a whopping good story whose characters are so finely drawn that one comes to love them as friends. So it's no wonder Tacoma's Classic Book Club - which has been meeting since 1994! - will tackle the novel at 7 p.m. inside King's Books.

4. The Harmon Tap Room Underground hosts an open mic from 7-9 p.m. It's a good opportunity to check out the remodeled music room.

5. There was a time when the Big Friction Jam at Jazzbones was THE place to be for Sunday night maxin', relaxin' and jammin'. Powered by the groove-heavy leanings of saxophonist Brett "Big Friction" Cummings, and aptly backed by a rhythm section the South Sound knows well - drummer Darin Watkins and bassist Jeff Leonard, of Vicci Martinez Band fame - the Big Friction house band took the stage, laid down the funk and groove, and magic ensued, with a cast of talented locals streaming through to take the stage and get down. At 8:30 p.m., under the increasingly-cool "Wednesday Sessions" header, Jazzbones welcomes back the Big Friction Jam for an evening that's sure to blow your usual Hump Day plans out of the proverbial water.

LINK: More arts and entertainment events in the South Sound

LINK: Live music and DJs tonight in the region

LINK: South Sound happy hour food and drinks

March 3, 2012 at 8:39am

5 Things To Do Today: "Zigzags," Snake Lake Science Fair, Slider Cook-Off, Sustainability Expo and more ...

Julie Alpert: Her "Telephone blueprint 3," 2012, collage, 5.5" x 8.5" hangs at the Telephone Room Gallery in Tacoma. Photo courtesy of Julie Alpert

SATURDAY, MARCH 3, 2012 >>>

1. The tiny Telephone Room Gallery will host 6-9 p.m. opening reception for Julie Alpert's Zigzags, Stripes, and Shadows, an art exhibit showing, according to Alpert, "Stream of consciousness drawings become blueprints for how I respond to the Telephone Room's cramped, charming, and curious architecture. Utilizing the shelves, telephone alcove, cabinet doors, and window, painted lines follow and cascade off the various surfaces transforming the once useful room into a mysterious three-dimensional painting."

2. Fun fact: Before there were expos, people had no idea how to disseminate information about sustainability. It was a bleak time. Luckily, events like today's South Sound Sustainability Expo at the Tacoma Convention and Trade Center have solved this problem, bringing "green" to the masses. According to hype, the South Sound Sustainability Expo is "intended to provide residents and business owners in the greater Tacoma metropolitan area a place to discover services, products, companies, and agencies in our region that address sustainability needs in our community." As part of that goal, instruction and information on everything from urban chicken cooping to waste minimization and recycling will be discussed from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

3. Kids these days are no damn good. You hear about it all the time. But at 1:30 p.m. at the Tacoma Nature Center anyone interested can get a look at some of the positive things kids are capable of - like baking-soda volcanoes and paper towel strength test. It's called the Snake Lake Science Fair, and kids from throughout Tacoma - many of them homeschooled - will participate with gusto this weekend, making for an event that's sure to be both enjoyable and enlightening. And it's also free to drop in on.

4. Artist John Miller's five-foot tall Venetian glass sculpture "Cheeseburger Goblet" and smaller "Slider Goblets," currently on display at the Museum of Glass as part of the Gathering: John Miller and Friends exhibition, have inspired Slider Cook-Off "Shake, Rattle & Grill" - an evening of 1950s kitschy fun at the museum, centered around a culinary battle pitting area chefs and their sliders competing for bragging rights, awards and art trophies beginning at 6:30 p.m. "We've given the chefs free rein to bring any recipe they'd like. They definitely all won't be beef cheeseburgers," says event organizer and Museum of Glass Corporate and Donor Relations Manager Mandy Lane of the sliders expected to compete. Read Jennifer Johnson's full feature on the Slider Cook-Off, including recipes and events, in the Restaurant section at weeklyvolcano.com.

5. The Missionary Position, SweetKiss Momma, Hot Bodies In Motion and Ape Machine will perform beginning at 7 p.m. inside Jazzbones.

PLUS: More event recommendations in our Weekend Hustle

LINK: More arts and entertainment events in the South Sound

LINK: Live music tonight in the South Sound

LINK: South Sound Happy Hours

February 27, 2012 at 7:47am

MORNING SPEW: Occupy Tacoma, Oscars winners, Golden Raspberry Awards, Zombies 5K ...

Golden Raspberry Awards 2012: Adam Sandler wins.

WHAT WE HAVE FOUND TODAY >>>

Puyallup School District's Next Superintendent: Let's look at the candidates. (News Tribune)

Occupy Tacoma: In like a lion, out like a lamb. (News Tribune)

President Barack Obama's New Budget: It includes no new money for the Puyallup River study in 2013. (News Tribune)

Live Blog: Four students shot at Ohio high school. (CNN)

Afghanistan: Administration officials described growing concern about a drawdown by the United States that hinges on the close training of Afghan army and police forces. (The New York Times)

Oscars 2012: Live coverage of the Academy Awards ceremony. (The Guardian)

Oscars 2012: Complete list of winners. (USA Today)

Oscars 2012: The breakout star at the Academy Awards was Angelina Jolie's right leg. (BuzzFeed)

Golden Raspberry Awards 2012: Adam Sandler has received a record number of them. (Den Of Geek)

Run For Your Lives 5K: Runners will be chased by zombies. (The Mary Sue)

February 7, 2012 at 12:39pm

Discussion: Urban Industrial Futures in Tacoma

FUTURE THINGS ARE COMING >>>

Urban development is a hot-button issue in Tacoma. If you look around you start to understand why. Thursday at the University Washington Tacoma, this year's Urban Studies Forum will focus on "Urban Industrial Futures." According to the UWT press release, the forum is a "one-day event designed to spur community conversation about how to balance industrial and post-industrial urban development strategies."

Speakers for the forum include Joan Fitzgerald, professor and director of the graduate Law and Public Policy program and senior research fellow at the Dukakis Center for Urban and Regional Policy at Northeastern University, Brian Coleman, CEO of Greenpoint Manufacturing and Design Center - a nonprofit industrial developer in New York, and Dean Amhaus, executive director of the Milwaukee Water Council.

The Urban Studies Forum is free and open to the public, but registration is required.

[UW Tacoma - William Philip Hall, registration begins at 7:30 a.m., free, register at tacoma.uw.edu/events/urban, 1900 Commerce St., Tacoma]

Filed under: Community, Tacoma, Green Crush, Word,

January 23, 2012 at 9:24am

5 Things To Do Today: Environmental Seminar series, "The Great Infection of the Sea" with Capt. Charles Moore, Capes & Cowls Book Club and more ...

Great Pacific Garbage Patch / Photo credit: greatpacificgarbagepatch.info

MONDAY, JAN. 23, 2012 >>>

1. It has all the makings of a very green day in Tacoma. At 12:30 p.m. at the University of Washington Tacoma, join Regan Dunn from the UW Seattle's Biology Department as part of the UWT's Environmental Seminar series. Dunn will discuss "Tracking the Evolution of South American Biota of the Middle-Cenozoic of Patagonia, Argentina." Seminars go down in room 309 of the Science building.

2. Capt. Charles Moore's presentation, "The Great Infection of the Sea," has nothing to do with that time Lindsey Lohan gave the entire Strait of Gibraltar Chlamydia (like you read about in US Weekly). Rather, Moore's presentation is actually of paramount importance, with the scientist and activist discussing his book, Plastic Ocean, which, according to pre-event hype, "describes the alarming presence of plastics in our oceans."  Capt. Moore will be at the University of Puget Sound in Tacoma today, speaking in the Murray Boardroom in Wheelock Student Center at 5:30 p.m.  The good captain will talk about what he reportedly calls the "Great Pacific Garbage Patch" in the Pacific Ocean. Information on the U.P.S. website indicates the area is "roughly two million square miles in size," and "is estimated to hold an estimated three million tons of plastic debris." Should be some uplifting chats.

3.. Holy nerd alert, Batman! It's the fourth Monday of the month - which means the super hero-centric Capes & Cowls Book Club - billed as a "... book club adapted to mutants, aliens, technogeeks and puny humans who like to read superhero comics" - holds its monthly meeting at King's Books. January's super hero-y selection is The Sensational She-Hulk by John Byrne.

4. Greta Jane Quartet begins its Monday night run at the 4th Avenue Tavern in downtown Olympia tonight. Catch the local favorites from 9 - 11 p.m.

5. Mondays mean all-ages trivia at the Mandolin Café in Tacoma, hosted by Jeff Ross. The quizzical fun starts at 6 p.m.

LINK: More arts and entertainment events in the South Sound

LINK: Live music and DJs tonight

December 21, 2011 at 7:54am

MORNING SPEW: Tacoma's new city manager, floatplanes on Foss, Hall & Oates Hotline ...

Hey Hall and Oates. She's gone. Ohwah. Now what do I do?

WHAT WE HAVE FOUND TODAY >>>

T.C. Broadnax Is Tacoma's Next City Manager: The stars at night are big and bright (clap, clap, clap, clap), deep in the heart of Texas. (News Tribune)

Tacoma Regional Convention & Visitor Bureau CEO Tammy Blount Is Outta Here: All the leaves a brown and the sky is grey. I've been for a walk on a winter's day. (News Tribune)

Floatplane Dock Coming To The Foss Waterway?: You know you got to go through hell before you get to heaven. (News Tribune)

Yippee!: Food scraps soon will be accepted in the yard waste bin. (News Tribune)

Analysis: Playing payroll tax roulette. (CNN)

Roger Ebert: Best films of the year. (Sun Times)

Trent Reznor: Comes clean on Fresh Air. (NPR)

Hall & Oates Hotline: Are you having a tough day? Do you love Hall & Oates? Call: 719-26-OATES. (The Atlantic Wire)

Christmas Movies: The worst. (Time)

Best SNL Skits Of The Year? (Pajiba)

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