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Creative Ways to Save at the Pump

Suzie Lechtenberg

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California drivers feeling the pinch
(David McNew/Getty Images)

Amy Amberg: Gas prices are anywhere from $3.99 to $4.09

Dave Phalen: We have been hovering around $4 a gallon for the last 30 days.

Allen Peerce: The diesel prices right now are $4.79


Dave Phalen: This is Sheriff Dave Phalen and I'm the sheriff of Fairfield County, Ohio. Last year at this time we were spending about $17,000 a month on fuel. Now we're spending about $28,000 per month on fuel. And for a small agency, that really causes a lot of problems.

One thing that we've done is we've purchased a golf cart. We put some emergency flashers on it and re-painted it with the Sheriff's emblem. We get up to about 40 miles per gallon and in our Crown Vic, we were getting probably 10-12 miles per gallon. Plus, you know, on a nice day its fun to be in a golf cart.

Last weekend we had our mounted unit out riding horses, and we have a number of bicycle patrols that we are going to be putting out too. One thing that really has helped is that most people, when they see a police officer, they see them sitting in a car, or driving by, and you don't have the interaction that you have when you have someone on a horse, someone on a bicycle, someone in a golf cart, interacting with the citizens.


Amy Amberg: Well, I haven't totally worked it out, but this weekend my boyfriend and I are going to be going to a graduation party, and the party is quite a few miles from where we live in Minneapolis. I am going to map out a trip that will involve taking our bikes, riding them to the light rail station, taking the light rail close to the Mall of America, and from the Mall of America, hopping on a bus and then hopping on our bikes to get to the party.

Preparing for trips like this takes a long time. I have to think about my water, what snacks I might need on the way, a smaller purse versus a larger purse, extra jacket, extra shoes, maybe something different to wear. So if I'm going to take two hours to bicycle, light rail, and take the bus to a place, well, I suppose it will take me an hour to get ready.


Allen Peerce: When I first started out, I was upset with diesel prices because I have a diesel truck. And so I stated that if diesel were to ever go to $4 a gallon that I was going to start riding my horse into town and I was going to start making my bank deposits on horseback through the bank teller window. And it happened -- $4 -- and so sure enough, that's exactly what I did.

And it seemed like every bank employee came running to the window and said, "What's going on?" And everybody was taking pictures. And then he made a deposit and then I made a deposit.

Right now [my horse] is 8-years-old. His name is Hitman. His registered name is Gin's Ice Break Hitman, he's a registered Tennessee Walker. I could jump off a cliff with him. He trusts me to no end. He and I have a bond. We connect.

And so then we went to McDonald's and went through the drive-thru. I had to have my helper, Brenda, punch the button for service because he didn't weigh enough for the light to come on. Anyway, we ordered and sat in front while I tied him to the flagpole. It was a pretty nice event.

Usually you don't ride a horse through town or through the drive-thru. And I just made the statement that if prices go up, I'm not going to sit and belly-ache or gripe, I'm going to do something about it. And so I saddled my horse up and we took off.

  • Music Bridge:
    Euphonic Sounds: A Synchopated Novelty
    Artist: Joshua Rifkin
    CD: Scott Joplin Piano Rags (Nonesuch)

Comments

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  • By Jon Goodwill

    From san diego, CA, 06/14/2008

    I've always thought of riding a horse around town and wanted to do it. Is it legal to do so in CA for a civilian?

    By Richard Stern

    From Cincinnati, OH, 06/14/2008

    What was the ragtime piece that was playing during this story"Creative ways to save at the pump"? I'd like to get the sheet music.

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