For state and city, EcoDriving saves energy and money

To the editor:

Not only does the nation face an energy crisis, but so does Sandy Springs. Gas prices are inching back up to the $2-a-gallon range — still well below the $4 per gallon of a year ago, but up again significantly from four or five months ago.

The world’s automakers are spending billions in new investment to develop advanced technologies, including hybrid vehicles, alternative-fuel autos and electric vehicles. This requires massive investment as they retool factories to produce these advanced vehicles. It’s an impressive effort that will deliver big gains in years to come, but it’s going to take some time, and it requires consumers to accept different choices.

Here in Georgia, Gov. Sonny Perdue realizes that there is still more that can and should be done. That’s why he recently became one of the first governors in the nation to endorse an important educational campaign called EcoDriving USA. Sponsored by both the auto industry and the Environmental Defense Fund, EcoDriving is a national movement that will benefit consumers, have a positive impact on meeting our energy challenge and reduce greenhouse gas emissions right now, using the vehicles and technologies we currently have. And it will ultimately save money at the pump for Georgia’s drivers.

Perdue is joined by six other governors across the country from both sides of the political aisle, including Arnold Schwarzenegger of California and Bill Ritter of Colorado.

By visiting the campaign Web site,, Georgia drivers can learn about simple but important steps they can take to immediately realize energy savings that will benefit the nation and our personal checkbooks. The aim is to give consumers information on basic things we can all do to reduce fuel consumption. More than proper tire inflation, EcoDriving posts a number of common-sense things that will save gas and money and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. For example, keeping a well-tuned engine, using the recommended weight of motor oil, keeping windows up and using air conditioning when driving over 4 mph, and avoiding rapid starts and stops will all save fuel.

By following EcoDriving’s simple practices, consumers can achieve fuel savings of up to 15 percent. If every driver in Georgia used this program, we could reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 862,815 tons annually, equivalent to the average annual emissions of 82,963 households. If half the drivers in America practiced EcoDriving, enough fuel would be saved to power 8.5 million households, and it would reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 100 million tons annually.

EcoDriving is all about knowledge. It’s easy, and it relies on common sense. But drivers can’t avail themselves of this resource unless they know about it. That’s why it’s important for Georgia’s public servants to join Perdue and support this movement all across our state. In addition to following EcoDriving practices, every Georgia resident can help advance this important cause by writing or calling other elected officials throughout the state, telling them to make this a priority.

By working together, we can not only make a difference in meeting our energy and climate challenges, but also save money in the process. It’s a win-win situation.

Robert J. Shaw, chairman
Fulton County Development Authority

Worthwhile events create havoc

To the editor:

I was disappointed to have my comments that were directed to Councilwoman Dianne Fries taken out of context and portrayed in a negative light (“City races into springs with bikes and arts,” April 17-30).

I am not at all opposed to the community events that are sponsored by the city of Sandy Springs, Heritage Sandy Springs and numerous other groups. Of course the community benefits from having cultural events such as the ones mentioned.

The problem arises when, as in the case of the Cycling Challenge, the organizers and the city get permission from our landlord, Ming Chu, to rope off an entire building in CityWalk so that I have no access to my business. This is a direct violation of my lease and everyone else’s lease in CityWalk. It is also a violation of my right to “quiet enjoyment” afforded to me by the laws of the city of Sandy Springs. It impedes my business by preventing not only me and my employees from entering my business, but any customers as well.

Neither I nor any of the other tenants received notice of the event last year. When my cleaning crew showed up, they were prevented from entering my business. I needed to have access that day to do computer updates and other paperwork, but I, too, was denied access, even when I explained I needed handicapped parking.

When I looked at a couple of Web sites this year to see what events were planned for Sandy Springs, I found that the event was again scheduled to come right through the CityWalk parking lot. I confirmed after several e-mail messages to Fries that they again planned to rope off my building and had not notified the tenants.

Surely, with all the streets we have in Sandy Springs, we could have a bike course that doesn’t have to come through a shopping center and prevent access to businesses.

As for the Taste of Sandy Springs and the Sandy Springs Festival, these are fun, worthwhile events for the entire community, and I support the events and the charities they benefit. However, we must work out a solution to the parking problem when these and other events take place on the surrounding streets and other nearby properties.

Patti Pennington, owner
Belles Choses LLC