Buy Smarter This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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     Gas prices are heading for an all-time high because those dummies at OPEC decided to release less fuel. Why? To tick people off. But there are things we can do to economize in the face of high fuel prices.

American cars are big. In fact, a mid-size Ford Explorer here is a giant SUV in England, where it is not very popular. Actually, car companies market entirely different cars in Europe. The Toyota Camry, extremely popular here, is viewed as a luxury car in England, not a family sedan. The Honda Accord in Europe and Japan is smaller and more agile than our version.

There is a reason for this. Those of us with five kids and a ranch need big vehicles, but many people driving these are soccer moms with two kids. They don’t need such large vehicles. Buying smarter - smaller - is a great way to save fuel and decrease OPEC’s control over us.

In Europe, gas is extremely expensive, typically over three dollars a gallon. They understand how to save fuel, which is why you see tiny Ford Kias and Fiat Seicentos everywhere. And there, almost every car is a diesel, which get close to 40 miles per gallon. Most important, they get you where you need to go.

Another thing that can help this gas problem is using more fuel-efficient engines. People talk about hybrids, but diesel is another solution. They are not smelly and noisy like they used to be. I have been to England where diesels dominate, and they are clean and stink-free. There are only a few models of diesel cars and SUVs in America (VW, Mercedes, Jeep and Ford), all of which have better gas mileage than their unleaded counterparts.

There is, of course, one more very simple solution. Walk. Bike. Don’t drive when you don’t need to. This is great exercise, uses less fuel and helps the environment. If you live two blocks from the supermarket, don’t get in your SUV and drive there. Walk. Use your bike. Doing so will be a huge step in improving the environment.

Buying smarter and using better strategies will make things easier. OPEC will have less control and won’t be able to cause mass shortages like in the ’70s. So hop on your bike.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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