For Immediate Release

09/22/2005

Contact: Kenneth Sheinkopf
1679 Clearlake Road
Cocoa, FL 32922-5703
Phone: (321) 638-1007
FAX: (321) 638-1010
 
FSEC Updates Online Consumer Publication on Energy Efficient Transportation
 
As Hurricane Rita bears down on Texas and the Gulf  Coast, drivers around the 
country are wondering what effect this latest storm will have on already high gas 
prices.  The projected path of the storm takes it toward oil rigs, pipelines and 
refineries along the Gulf of Mexico, where about a fourth of the U.S. refining 
capacity is located.

It was just a few weeks ago when Hurricane Katrina's devastating blow to Louisiana 
and nearby states sent gas prices above $3 in most of the country.  While these 
prices have come down somewhat, we're all still feeling "sticker shock" at the 
pump.

In response to the effects of these storms, the Florida Solar Energy Center (FSEC) 
has just revised its popular energy note on "Energy Efficient Transportation for 
Florida."  It offers many tips to help conserve gas and drive more efficiently, 
including suggestions for maintaining your car, efficient driving strategies, wise 
use of air conditioning and a look at future hybrid and alternative-fuel 
vehicles.  The information will be useful to drivers in all parts of the country.

Danny Parker, a principal research scientist at FSEC, has updated his original 
article this week in preparation for the possibility of another significant 
increase in gas prices from the latest storm.  His new information includes data 
on the effects of gas mileage from air conditioner use, shedding extra weight in 
the trunk, the effects of unnecessary engine idling, and even how aggressive 
driving can waste gas.

The updated publication is available at 
 www.fsec.ucf.edu/pubs/energynotes/en-19.htm. 

Parker notes that "in the worst case scenario, Hurricane Rita's effects could lead 
to petroleum supply disruption on an unprecedented scale.  But even at best, 
refined oil products -- gasoline -- could be in temporary short supply and at high 
cost.  Consumers can make their fuel -- and money -- go a lot further by driving as 
efficiently as possible."

The Florida Solar Energy Center, a research institute of the University of Central 
Florida, is the largest and most active state-supported energy research center in 
the country.  Current research activities include solar water and pool heating, 
solar electric and distributed generation systems, energy-efficiency buildings, 
alternative transportation systems, hydrogen fuel, fuel cells and other energy 
areas.  For more information about the center, visit www.fsec.ucf.edu or 
call the FSEC Public Affairs Office at (321) 638-1015.