Crypto Currency Versus Barter

Written by, Samuel K. Burlum, Investigative Reporter and author of The Green Lane, a syndicated column; Published on 10/30/15, a www.SamBurlum.com Exclusive

Source: There are many other forms of instruments for conducting a financial transaction for goods and services, so what are a few alternatives to hard cash, or having to use credit and debit cards? Sam Burlum discusses some of the more popular possibilities.

Individuals whom have lost faith in the traditional monetary system have been in search for other ways to exchange their goods and/or services for other desired needs and wants, using other platforms to be compensated for their wares. Since the housing bubble crisis in 2008, and the evolution of electronic software and secured purchasing platforms, Crypto Currency and Barter are on the rise. Crypto currencies such as Bitcoin and OneCoin have gained popularity internationally as confidence in national currencies, such as the US Dollar, have been dwindling.

However, Crypto Currency is not alone in the competitive race to capture financial exchanges using other methods than paper money. Barter is on the rise, and has made a big comeback since the days of the 1930’s depression. Barter platforms have allowed for local businesses to exchange their services for items, goods, or services that particular business directly needs to grow its presence on Main Street.

Both Crypto Currency and Barter have their advantages, depending weather your business operates locally or internationally. A business or individual is not limited to just one platform, unlike paper money which is controlled by government institutions and banking interest. Crypto Currency and Barter are not a regulated security, unlike other formal exchanges of money. These platforms seem to be more self-regulating, where trade organizations help create and institute ethical standards in which how these new forms of trading can be utilized.

Crypto Currency such as Bitcoin or OneCoin are a platform which no real paper money that is exchanged. They are not regulated by the Federal Reserve, nor by any other banking institution. Bitcoin is an electronic digital currency, which a value of Bitcoin is exchanged for products and services, within a network of software that connects other users of bitcoin to each other. OneCoin works in similar fashion however OneCoin is backed by real and solid gold. These crypto currencies can only be utilized by other individuals within their respective network.

These two platforms have grown in popularity with companies that offer their products on a worldwide market. Apple for instance has begun to accept these different types of currency in exchange for products at their stores and online. Other businesses have begun to accept these types of currencies for payment include big box retailers (in selected markets), technology companies, and in areas where paper money may have little or no value. The largest demographic using these new currencies are Millennia and Z generation, since they are more in tune with e-wallet systems.

Barter on the other hand has a very strong presence with businesses located on Main Street, USA. Local businesses can trade directly with other businesses, and in some cases, with their customers, for items the business may need in order to grow. This reserves cash for things where barter may not be applicable such as rent, utilities, or payroll for employees. Barter has been around since mankind began to trade goods with each other, however Barter has reinvented itself a number of times and has taken on a new form in today’s market.

Platforms such as Badger Barter, allow for a business to engage in purchasing items for their business ranging from print materials and marketing collateral to property maintenance services and professional services. Trading credits can be used with any other business which is a Badger Barter Member, in exchange for products and/or services from over 600 participants. Credits can also be deposited in another account via the Badger Barter member services website. Businesses which have at least a 30% markup, or higher, on products and services are the most ideal fit for a barter system.

Furthermore barter has proven to even increase cash flow. For instance where a person visited a restaurant as a guest of someone who was a member of the barter platform, like the dining experience, they may return to that specific restaurant on their own accord (not being a barter member themselves) and would pay cash or credit for their meal. The restaurant then gains another faithful patron; from a situation it may have not before been able to reach that consumer.

Barter can also be utilized in exchanging hours of labor, thus “trading time” which is often done in small communities where “friends” and “neighbors” might rely on help from one another to complete a task. An example is the carpenter may need his car fixed yet may not have all the cash to pay the mechanic for their services, so the mechanic may trade his expertise in fixing the car in exchange for having the carpenter come over and fix up the garage door or renovate a closet at the home. Just about any type of product or service can be exchanged in a barter situation as long as two people agree upon it.

So which is better for you: Crypto Currency or Barter? It depends on your needs. If you are more localized with your business or individual needs, then a barter system may work better to your advantage. If your business is heavily invested in selling its products and services online, and services international orders, then a Crypto Currency may be more beneficial.

Samuel K. Burlum is an investigative reporter who authors articles related to economic development, innovation, green technology, business strategy, and public policy concerns. Burlum is also a career entrepreneur who lends his expertise as a consultant to start-up companies, small businesses, and mid-size enterprises, providing advisement in several areas including strategic business planning, business development, supply chain management, and systems integration. He is also author of The Race to Protect Our Most Important Natural Resource-Water, Main Street Survival Guide for Small Businesses, and Life in the Green Lane-in Pursuit of the American Dream.

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5 Automotive Gadgets that were mocked before Becoming Standard Equipment

Written by, Samuel K. Burlum, Investigative Reporter and author of The Green Lane, a syndicated column; Published on 7/01/15, a www.SamBurlum.com Exclusive

Source: As long as there have been cars, there have been tinkerers and inventors who thought they could build a better mouse trap. Some inventions would never prove themselves beyond the concept and prototype stage, while others would be adopted over time to become standard equipment, as we now accept them as a part of our lives today.

We have taken a look at five inventions- technological advancements that were first thought of as science fiction and criticized harshly before making the transition into the regular make-up of the automobile. Some of the gadgets on our list are fairly new, and have just begun to emerge, while others date back to the 1930’s:

1. Global Positioning System (GPS). The Global Positioning System was invented by the Department of Defense and Dr. Ivan Getting. Following his undergraduate study at MIT as an Edison Scholar, Dr. Getting was a Graduate Rhodes scholar at Oxford University. He was awarded a Ph.D. in Astrophysics in 1935. In 1951, Ivan Getting became the vice president for engineering and research at the Raytheon Corporation. The first three-dimensional, time-difference-of-arrival position-finding system was suggested by Raytheon Corporation. Later, Getting would refine a device that was applicable for use on the ground.

The first systems were known to “send people in a circle” as they did not properly calculate location yet. The device was almost abandoned. The GPS first became available as an aftermarket accessory that you could buy at your local automotive parts store, but later became mainstreamed as companies such as Garmin and TomTom appeared. The GPS is standard in most vehicles today, and is built into the electronics of most modern dashboards right from factory. It took over 50 years before the GPS became standard in vehicles and is now on mobile phones as well.

2. Intermittent Windshield Wiper. The Intermittent Windshield Wiper was invented by a man named Robert Kearns, in the basement of his house, who was an engineer by trade from Case Western Reserve University. Made famous by the movie, “Flash of Genius,” Kearns’ efforts in suing the automotive industry were successful after many years of legal battles in court. Kearns did not work for any car company, but discovered a solution to a problem and acted on his own. It took him almost a decade to obtain a patent and nearly gave up in the process.

In 1973, Ford adopted the technology as a new feature on its famous Mustang model and other top sellers as well. Chrysler was next to capitalize on the invention. Kearns would later win decisive and landmark court battles against both vehicle manufacturers, marking it the largest litigation on the record over patent infringement. It took over twenty years for the auto industry to make the intermittent windshield wiper standard on all production cars.

3. Electronic Control Unit (ECU). The first Electronic Control Units, also known as Engine Control Units (ECU) and Power Train Control Units (PCU), hit mainstream when General Motors released the technology in 1979. It started as a small application on Buick, Oldsmobile, Pontiac, and Cadillac makes and models.

These initial components were nothing more than logic modules which would utilize a hybrid digital/analog design. GM would ramp up production and the use of ECU in 1980, using microprocessors as a base for improving the form and functionality of the device.

In 1981, microprocessors for use in this application were here to stay, and auto manufacturers began to replace carburation with fuel injection systems because they now had a “brain” that could better control these functions. It’s hard to say who invented it first, since a number of auto manufacturers were working on designs of their own at the same time. Some people give Louis Brennan credit for inventing the base of the concept, when he used computer intelligence to create the first missile guidance system. The worldwide government standard vehicle diagnostic system, OBD II became the uniform standard in 1996, although by then many vehicles had already come with a more user friendly version.

4. The Electric Car Itself. The electric car is nothing new. The first electric car designs were developed by Nicola Tesla. Most of the very early motor coaches prior to mass production of vehicles were nothing more than an electric motor that was attached to an axle powered by a battery. The refinement of gasoline as a usable and cheap form of energy to power the internal combustion engine ushered in the petro era power plants still used today. In 1931, Nicola Tesla had stripped down a Pierce Arrow, and recreated the vehicle to accommodate an electric motor, a Westinghouse motor, which could reach speeds up to 90 miles per hour.

Later, General Motors would toy with the idea of an electric car with the release of the General Motors EV1, made famous by the movie “Who Killed the Electric Car.” By the mid to late 2000’s electric vehicles were going main stream. With fuel prices reaching $3 a gallon, many garage inventors would look to convert their own vehicle into a homemade electric powered one. This spurred the auto industry to meet the demand of fuel saving vehicles. Toyota answered with Prius, and now offers a full electric version of the vehicle. Nissan launched the Leaf. General Motors ushered in the Volt under its Chevrolet brand. Today just about every manufacturer offers a model vehicle that utilizes an electric power plant under the hood.

And it only took the industry over one hundred years to do it! Two main reasons are technological advancements and demand; X, Y, and Millennia generations grew up with a popular notion to embrace a responsibility to the environment, and in the use of transportation this meant exploring alternatives, including hybrids, electric, and even the use of new fuels. Tesla Motors, founded and funded by PayPal pioneer Elon Musk, only offers electric vehicles.

5. Smart Emissions Reducer (SER). The Smart Emissions Reducer is a relatively new addition to the list. The base technology was originally invented to reduce emissions and was widely tested and adopted in the logging industry. The technology is a simple retrofit designed that transforms crankcase emission gases into a more combustible state. As the newly enhanced gases exit the device and re-enter the air fuel stream, the fuel in the combustion chamber now burns cleaner and more completely, resulting in a more efficient use of fuel, and an entirely cleaner process.

A company located in Ogdensburg, New Jersey would later commercialize the product into use in commercial and government fleet vehicles. Since Extreme Energy Solutions took the product to market, the Smart Emissions Reducer has made its way under the hood of passenger vehicles, commercial delivery vehicles, taxi cabs, big rigs, transit buses, stationary generators, and even tested in the rail industry. The product was tested by Roush Industries, a leading automotive lab in Michigan, on gasoline powered vehicles. Test showed the device could deliver up to 7.5% increase fuel efficiency, while reducing emissions up to 65%.

It would be later be tested by KESHI Group, a manufacturer of specialty off-road vehicles for the mining industry in China. The report showed the device offering up to 5% in fuel efficiency under controlled laboratory conditions, and 20%-50% in emissions reductions, within various phases of engine operating modes. This testing was on a 5.9 liter Cummings diesel powered engine. Keshi Group continues to test the SER under real world conditions and has applied the technology to several vehicles in the field. As a result multiple engine and vehicle manufactures have issued Extreme Energy Solutions letters of intent to explore the use the SER as standard equipment.

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Samuel K. Burlum is an investigative reporter who authors articles related to economic development, innovation, green technology, business strategy, and public policy concerns. Burlum is also a career entrepreneur who lends his expertise as a consultant to start-up companies, small businesses, and mid-size enterprises, providing advisement in several areas including strategic business planning, business development, supply chain management, and systems integration. He is also author of The Race to Protect Our Most Important Natural Resource-Water, Main Street Survival Guide for Small Businesses, and Life in the Green Lane-in Pursuit of the American Dream.

Innovation is Key

Innovation is Key 2Written by, Samuel K. Burlum, Investigative Reporter and author of The Green Lane, a syndicated column Published on The Alternative Press, and  SamBurlum.com 

History will show, every time the United States’ free market system was met with economic crisis, innovation and technology ushered in at the eleventh hour to save the day. Our great nation and its free economy has faced over forty-seven recessions, since very conception. Advances in farming technology allowed us to overcome the challenges an economic engine which depended on agriculture production in the late 1700’s. After the Civil War it was the race to connect America coast to coast that spurred on the age of the railroads. Evolutions in manufacturing processes and the spread of available electric power allowed for hard goods to cost less and be readily available on demand in the late 1800’s.

After World War I, it was the ignition of the automobile industry that transformed the way we travel. Globalization was a result of World War II which followed the aches and pains of the Great Depression. The Airline industry age of the 1960’s and the Computer age of the 1980’s, all heroes which save our nation from the brink of economic disaster. The Information Age of the 1990’s and todays Digital Age, provided significant employment opportunity and replaced many of the lost jobs of yester year, allowing for those who lost their previous career position a chance to transition to new employment. Behind each revolution was technology and innovation; conveniences that allowed us to do things better, faster, and at a lower cost.

Today, our country faces yet another critical fiscal crisis. Economists that provide statements that were are not in a recession are dead wrong. Our nation’s debt is the highest in history, with the US Debt Clock now showing a US National Debt of just over 17 trillion dollars in the red, and a Total US Debt just over $61 trillion dollars in the red, it does not take an economist to realize, that we need innovation and technology once again to step up to home plate and hit a home run. Wall Street might be on fire, experiencing record highs and seeing peak profits, it is a very different picture on Main Street USA. In order for our National Debt to be cleared today, each US Citizen would have to cut a check for $56,000 and each tax payer would need to shell out another $151k for us to clear the slate.

The White House and Advocates on the Hill are calling for a national increase to minimum wage, raising the current hourly rate from $7.25 per hour to $10 per hour. Participants in the “Minimum Wage Economy” labor force want $15 per hour. Skeptics and the opposition to the minimum wage hike argue that such a large increase will slow down the even slow economy, and deter small business owners from expanding their operations or hire any additional help. Advocates for the minimum wage hike say that the majority of the available jobs are minimum wage low paying entry level jobs, jobs that cannot sustain the very households that provide the labor. Both sides of the argument are still missing the bigger picture…even by raising the minimum wage to $15 per hour is not going to make an impact on paying down $17 trillion in National Debt.

My question is this, if we demand a higher standard of wages or revenue, then why are we settling for mediocrity? I mean $15 an hour for a whopper flopper, really? So we are going to undermine the value of a tradesman or professional who spent years refining their craft or expertise so that we can feel good about giving everyone and “equal” footing? What about demanding a strong national industrial policy that breaks all the barriers that are holding back new job creation from industry sectors relating to technology and innovation? Why are we not considering sun setting regulation that stifles small business and deter them from hiring local employees instead of penalizing them for frivolous victimless civil matters? Why don’t regulators sit down and coach small businesses on how to navigate through the regulatory landscape instead of crushing their dreams with over-burdened enforcement action? Why are we not revisiting trade policies that allow for the balance of fair trade instead of free trade? Most of all, why are incentives provided to companies that take jobs off US soil and we over tax and over regulate the companies and businesses who choose to stay behind, because it the right thing to do?

I could go on and on about policy and the regulatory landscape, but in the mist of it, we need innovation to swoop in like superman and save the day.

Technology and innovation that creates hard goods, hard goods that need to be manufactured, can provide employment opportunities for skilled workers who have had to settle for a minimum wage job. No other industry can provide for such saving grace than the green Industry and the tech arena. With public policy mounting in line with the available selection of product lines aimed at environmental mitigation, energy conservation, and efficiency, are products and market segments which not only provide jobs, but economic benefits to consumers, if they embrace them. Early market adoption of community based, value creating technology will allow for yet another wave of local and regional job creation to take hold. In addition to skilled labor for manufacturing, the green industry provides a platform for accountants to provide energy audits and surveys. We have already seen the transition of construction workers who have become trained and readied to install solar and LED technology. Retrofit technology and innovation in the emissions industry and fuel economy movement offer jobs to technicians who lost their jobs during the General Motors and Chrysler dealer consolidations.

The new found riches in natural gas, light sweet crude, and advances in propane for auto gas (even with the controversial practice of fracking) have giving the United States the ability to replace foreign fossil fuels with domestic supplies. Other local businesses have been stimulated as a result of domestic energy exploration, such as trucking, construction, and real estate. With massive reserves of natural gas waiting to be extracted, the US now has a value export besides consumer goods to offset trade balances and debt. Coal still used in other parts of the world can still be mined from high yield areas such as Pennsylvania and Kentucky can still keep these traditional mining jobs alive, yet again creating another commodity ready for export.

The digital media age still yields vast opportunities. Content creation and content management focuses on targeted users within a specific geographic and/or demographic audience. These jobs are jobs can be filled with folks that base skill sets derive from journalism and traditional media backgrounds; marketing and advertising professionals, communication and cable industries; as well as workers from the computer era, retrained and updated on new technological delivery devices that give direct content to consumers. Behind the scenes I/T networking jobs are still in high demand; this time instead of tying together the web of desk top computers, it is become a job of mobile device management, integrating the thousands of apps and connecting tens of millions of end users. Design and functionality will continue to thrive as we the consumer asks for style, convenience, and information at the very tip of our fingers when we want it.

No matter the technology, innovation is the key to jump starting Main Street again. These jobs can fill local store fronts and vacant space. Main Street is counting on us to believe in it again. Micro industries and micro economies are a valuable tool to reinvent ourselves. With unemployment at an all-time high (sorry but the statistics do lie), all options to create free market free economy jobs need to be on the table. Who will step up to the plate and be the next Steve Jobs or Bill Gates, or who will be the next Elon Musk? Only time will tell, but one thing is for sure, as history will demonstrate, innovation will prevail just in the nick of time.

Samuel K. Burlum is an investigative reporter who authors articles related to economic development, innovation, green technology, business strategy, and public policy concerns. Burlum is also a career entrepreneur who lends his expertise as a consultant to start-up companies, small businesses, and mid-size enterprises, providing advisement in several areas including strategic business planning, business development, supply chain management, and systems integration. He is also author of The Race to Protect Our Most Important Natural Resource-Water, Main Street Survival Guide for Small Businesses, and Life in the Green Lane-in Pursuit of the American Dream.

Obama’s Call for Fuel Efficient Trucks

Obama Calls for Higher Fuel Efficient Trucks a March 14, 2014| Sam Burlum | Diesel EnginesEmissions Standards Written by, Samuel K. Burlum, Investigative Reporter and author of The Green Lane, a syndicated column Published  by The Alternative Press.com, www.SamBurlum.com, and http://www.Truthabouttrucking.com

Both in his State of the Union Address and at a speech in which he gave in Upper Marlboro, Md., the President has called for higher fuel economy standards for heavy duty and medium duty trucks.  This initiative will work in parallel with the cause to reduce harmful vehicle emissions which have a negative impact on air quality, which are already in place.  The President will push for the tougher standards by 2016.  Both the EPA and the DOT are leading this initiative and will be developing and issuing a Notice for Proposed Rulemaking on this subject matter, with more stringent policy to be drafted by 2016 and instituted 2014 to 2018.

The proposed plan discusses the implementation of innovation and the wider spread use of “green fuels” such as natural gas.  Included in the conversation are industry leaders such as the engine manufacturers, fortune 500 fleet operators, and representatives of the regulators themselves.  But what about the opinions of the many who make up the lower rungs which consist of many big rig owner-operators, family owned transportation and shipping providers, and smaller commercial fleet owners?  And what kind of “innovation” will be accepted as a part of this ongoing agenda?  Will grass roots innovation be considered, or will the market be dictated to again by a group of over-zealous regulatory actions?

We have seen what happened with the Stop the Soot program, part of the National Diesel Retrofit Program, and by enforcement actions lead by CARB in recent regulatory enforcement action; that has forced many owner-operators and smaller fleets to call it a day, just to throw in the towel and close down their operations.  The main complaint of many (as we interviewed fleet owners in our War on Trucking Series) is that they are forced to adopt one technologyor purchase a new truck, which falls outside their scope of their budget; or face big penalties and fines.  For most the cost to keep up with regulatory burdens are just too much to bear, forcing them off the road and to look for work and opportunity elsewhere.

So the question becomes, “Will the DOT and EPA finally consider the freedom for the smaller fleet operator to adopt innovation they feel is the best fit for their needs and that will work for their budget, or will this initiative be another blow to the already fragile landscape that makes up the fight between owner-operators and large national carriers?” The Notice for Proposed Rulemaking will allow for public commentary to be considered, which usually is issued threw a Request for Information followed by a series of public hearings.  Fleet organizations, technology providers, and owner-operators themselves have been calling for a higher level of transparency when it comes to such proposals, making it easier for the public to offer their ideas and suggestions to be heard.  Usually RFI’s or RFP’s are usually buried deep in government agency websites, and most hearings are not conducted in an area where the public can easily access them.

Smaller fleets and owner-operators have suggested for multiple meetings to be held in areas where statistics will demonstrate a high rate of truck traffic flow, so they have the ability to attend such hearings without giving up their ability to continue to still make a living.  Having the freedom to make a consumer choice is still an ongoing concern for many who have researched their own solutions to meeting these standards.  Many fleets across the nation have beta tested products and practices, with positive results only to be told that they cannot use these innovations because they are not on “the list.”  “The List” refers to the approved list of products the EPA has deemed as the standard and will be the products in which receive grant funding, that are aligned with federal grant funding and have been through tens of millions of dollars in third party testing approved and funded by the EPA.

This practice has completely shunned out any new available innovation that could be considered as a possible solution to fuel economy and emissions reduction enforcement action.  These practices are contradict the actual initiative, and many claim to be a program that continues to help large fleets and manufacturers grow while forcing out the competition of start-up innovation and owner-operator fleets from the market place.  In a tough fragile economy, it would be the “win-win-win” to allow for start-up innovation, owner-operators and smaller fleet operations, to have the ability to partner up and go toe to toe with the big boys in the room.  Such free market competition will spur action for best and most cost effective innovation to prevail, or even a number of technologies to be a better consideration than what are currently offered on “the list.”  Having the free market to provide innovation versus the private-public partnership model, will allow for the consumer and for the tax payer to determine what is the best answer to the situation, since they are the ones at the end of the day who pay the price for these of types of policies that are created.  This type of resolve would also lessen the need for regulatory enforcement action which levies heavily against smaller fleet operators, since they usually don’t have the resources to comply.

The best part about the consideration for other innovation: jobs.  Someone has to make the product.  What a better place but to make that product here in the United States, where the product will be demanded by the market.  With innovation kept under the thumb of a chosen winner’s and loser’s list, we are putting a lid on much anticipated job creation. Smaller firms who offer innovation and technology usually produce their product not far from their founding roots of their home community.  The usually also provide a technical service model that accompanies their product, which assures local service jobs to take hold. Most products found on “the list” do not utilize this model and are manufactured abroad. They are usually only offered through established distribution channels in areas that already have an existing employment base.  This provides for no new job creation.

The “win-win-win” is for new innovation and technology to be considered in this next round of regulatory initiatives; fleets will have a wider scope of available options to become compliant; more older trucks are retrofitted with something better than nothing solution; owner-operators and smaller fleets can stay in business; fuel economy and environmental goals would be met; the price of innovation will drop; and jobs will be saved and created in the process.  That is a big win for the tax payer who is already burdened with the cost of running programs which are sponsored by DOT and the EPA.

And one last dynamic that needs to be considered…how will tax reform affect some of these initiatives?  Usually most of the funding for “green fleet” projects have always come from grants and project money that was released and allocated by regulatory agencies.  Within the proposed Tax Reform Bill, proposed by Chairman David Camp, of the Ways and Means Committee, House of Representatives, released yesterday a working draft of Comprehensive Tax Code Reform; references terms and content that provide “green fleet” tax credits. Content aimed to provide incentive to early adopters of innovation and provide research and development credits for smaller innovators was proposed to both the Ways and Means in the House and the Senate Finance Committee by working groups, constituents, and industry advocates.  Will this finally open the log jam or just further the debate between the people and their representatives and/or regulatory agencies and the White House on this subject matter.

Regardless of what side of the debate you are on, there is no denying that all of these actions, initiatives, and policies affect us every time we go to the grocery store to purchase our family’s needs.  Everything in the store was delivered by a truck, and this is reflected as a part of the prices on the shelf, and these are costs that you pay when check out an item at the register.  You as the consumer and as a taxpayer will have to decide how much are you willing to pay.

You can find more about the White House’s Plan on this subject matter by clicking the link:

http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2014/02/18/fact-sheet-opportunity-all-improving-fuel-efficiency-american-trucks-bol

You can also chime in on the conversation by visiting a discussion and commentary at: http://www.blogtalkradio.com/truthabouttrucking/2014/02/27/open-forum-increase-fuel-efficiency-standards-nprm

Samuel K. Burlum is an investigative reporter who authors articles related to economic development, innovation, green technology, business strategy, and public policy concerns. Burlum is also a career entrepreneur who lends his expertise as a consultant to start-up companies, small businesses, and mid-size enterprises, providing advisement in several areas including strategic business planning, business development, supply chain management, and systems integration. He is also author of The Race to Protect Our Most Important Natural Resource-Water, Main Street Survival Guide for Small Businesses, and Life in the Green Lane-in Pursuit of the American Dream.

Save Money on Gas with your Ride

Saving gas with your current ride b

In tough economic times, and with prices at the gas pump still hovering around $3.25 per gallon, many of us look to alternatives to lower our fuel usage.  Some of us have even explored into upgrading our larger, older vehicle for a smaller more fuel efficient model.

But there are many basic no cost/low cost practices that we can use in order to save a few bucks at the pump, and get the most out of the vehicle we already own.

These simple tips are some of the basic practices we tend to overlook that aid in compromising our fuel savings and vehicle performance.

Did you shop around locally for the best priced quality fuel?  Price does matter so does the quality.  Sure you can buy gas from that one station that may be twenty cents cheaper than everyone else, but will the grade and quality create vehicle issues down the road?  Most stations do post their prices for the following day by 3pm of the current day.  Choose wisely.  It’s not to your advantage to travel 10 miles, pass up on three filling stations to save two cents a gallon.

Did you consolidate trips, conduct errands in one large trip, and limit how many short trips you drive?  Many of us have a tendency to leave and return from our home or office many times throughout the day.  By consolidating our trips and proper planning, not only are we saving money on fuel cost, we end up putting less wear and tear on our vehicles, getting more done and saving time for other business activities.

Do you carpool when available?  Do you walk or bike if the distance is less than a mile?  This is about just leaving the car at home and catching a ride with the neighbor, or walking a few blocks to fetch the morning newspaper.  It takes at least a mile or two for a car to reach its normal operating temperature.  During that phase of startup, the vehicle uses it most fuel because the vehicle is in “open loop,” or warm up, and the shorter the vehicle travels, the less chance the vehicle has to get acclimated to the driving conditions.  Less than a mile, hop on the bike or put one foot in front of another.

Do you drive within the speed limit?  In today’s rush, we all tend to drive a bit fast.  Speed limits were not just designed for safety; they were also modeled after peak vehicle performance curve, for those particular road conditions.  Driving within the limits will also allow for you to lighten up at the throttle, burning unnecessary fuel in times of less favorable road conditions.

Do you lower air conditioning levels for when you only need it?  Air conditioning units on vehicles do draw down power on the battery, the electronics, and on the load of the engine.  The engine in order to cool itself will consume more fuel.  With scorching temps on the rise for the summer months, the A/C is a treat.  Just have balance in your demand on the system because you will pay for it at the pump.

Do you make sure your tires are properly inflated?  Under inflated tires provide for more friction and resistance to the road. This requires more energy to power the vehicle, hence more fuel usage.  Most tires are rated beyond the rating that is displayed on the sidewall, and can be overinflated by 5 pounds per square inch.  This assures a harder ride, but it also assures less wasted effort at the tires.

Did you remove all of the extra weight and objects from the truck/storage area?  That late night return home from the road trip with suitcases and belongings can have an effect on fuel economy.  As soon as you return home, allow for some time to empty the car.  Many of us drive around with items from trip after trip that compounds and becomes a burden on vehicle.  Less weight, the less fuel you will need to move the entire package down the road.

Did you use the correct oil in the engine?  Less friction equals less fuel used.  Also the wrong weight oil can case engine temps to rise, and the need for extra fuel to cool engines down.  Some motor oils now offer extra formulas for high mileage, synthetics, and for specialized applications (towing-racing-etc.), allowing for engines to operate more smoothly, lessening the need for be draws on fuel.

Do you drive aggressively?  Jack rabbits, erratic starts and stops, racing around a bend just to slow down, are just some of the behaviors that compromise fuel economy.  Do you weave in and out of traffic?  Do you try to beat the red light?  All of these habits are contributors in losing fuel economy.  Remember, the first and ultimate tool in fuel economy is the foot that rest on the gas pedal, and our own judgment to drive conservatively.

Did you make sure your car is properly maintained?  When the basic general maintenance of any piece of equipment is degraded, it will not perform in its peak efficiency.  Whenever a vehicle has a check engine light, base program falls into a default state, providing for basic functions but not for maximizing the fuel economy.  The longer you drive with a check engine light, the further your vehicle will reduce its efficiency.

You know it’s really easy to put these tips into practice.   All it takes is some time investment and taking the personal responsibility to do so.  In addition to these tips, there are many aftermarket add-ons that provide a return on investment.  We shall review some history of fuel economy and some of the available technologies that have proven themselves in the market in our next entry.  Until then, do your best to live in “The Green Lane,” going green while saving green.

Samuel K. Burlum is an investigative reporter who authors articles related to economic development, innovation, green technology, business strategy, and public policy concerns. Burlum is also a career entrepreneur who lends his expertise as a consultant to start-up companies, small businesses, and mid-size enterprises, providing advisement in several areas including strategic business planning, business development, supply chain management, and systems integration. He is also author of The Race to Protect Our Most Important Natural Resource-Water, Main Street Survival Guide for Small Businesses, and Life in the Green Lane-in Pursuit of the American Dream.

Welcome to “The Green Lane”

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Welcome to “The Green Lane,” a syndicated column authored by Investigative Reporter and Small Business Advocate, Samuel K. Burlum.  Samuel Burlum is a leading most authority on issues and discussions that involve and affect Small Businesses, in the areas of Environmental Sustainability, Green Technology, Economic Development, Burdensome Regulatory Concerns, Transportation Issues, and other interesting conversations that are hot topics for today’s entrepreneur.

Samuel K. Burlum is a Business Strategist and Consultant, who helps small to medium emerging businesses break through the barriers of entry in their respective market spaces. Samuel Burlum offers Strategic Business Planning, Business Development Services, advisement on Supply Chain Management, reviews Systems Integration, and donates his time as a Guest Speaker at trade events, forums, and in the classroom.

Samuel K. Burlum brings to the table his life experience and his fellow industry colleagues to the discussion. As CEO and President of Extreme Energy Solutions, Inc., Samuel K. Burlum has developed a network of strategic partners who’s goal is to bring emerging technology to market that can make a positive difference in people’s lives. Under his leadership, the Smart Emissions Reducer technology aimed at lowering harmful vehicle emissions, has been deployed worldwide. He continues to lead Extreme, as its begins to launch its next flagship product, Extreme Kleaner.

When Samuel K. Burlum is not working, he is lending his time to aiding community causes. Samuel Burlum helped raise money for Veterans, assisted an organization which devoted itself in spreading the word of the arts and humanities, and even took part in local community efforts such as 5k run fundraisers. He was recognized by the People of Distinction Humanitarian Foundation as an Unsung Hero.

Samuel K. Burlum provides you insight to both sides of the arguement, in “The Green Lane,” Sam Burlum offers you a inside look to ongoing debates on hot topics from across the country. From the trucking and transportation industry to environmental concerns, Sam Burlum digs deep into the matter, investigating into the facts, and presenting you information, allowing for you to be the judge of your own thoughts.

So if you are interested in knowing the latest news, or want to get first edition of “The Green Lane,” subscribe today at www.SamBurlum.com, and we will send you once a month, newsletter with our latest article. You will also be the first to get exclusive behind the scenes looks and interviews from Samuel Burlum.

So, “Welcome to the Green Lane,” and we look forward in you joining us in our journey.

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