Thursday, November 26, 2015

Fuelproof redux

2008 saw an upsurge in SEPTA ridership but once gas prices retreated so did a lot of car-owners, getting off the bus and back behind the wheel. Again this year, though, a lot of drivers are feeling the pinch, and as Molly Eichel reports in today's Daily News, once again "Philadelphians ditch cars for bikes, SEPTA and walking."

Fuelproof redux

Kasy Zook (left) and Andrea Mules bike to the grocery store in South Philadelphia. (Yong Kim / Staff Photographer) Daily News/Inquirer

The last time gas prices were flirting with $4.00 a gallon was in 2008. The Daily News did a series of "power page" special packages on how to get around without breaking your budget, called Fuelproof Your Summer. That feature wound up planting the seed from which grew Earth to Philly.

There was an upsurge in SEPTA ridership but once gas prices retreated so did a lot of car-owners, getting off the bus and back behind the wheel. Again this year, though, a lot of drivers are feeling the pinch, and as Molly Eichel reports in today's Daily News, once again "Philadelphians ditch cars for bikes, SEPTA and walking."

[T]hanks to a still shaky economy, rising gas prices and a newfound appreciation of Philly's walkable (and bikable) streets, living without a car is an increasingly attractive option - something a lot of residents have figured out. Nearly a third of all households in the city don't have a vehicle, according to the Census Bureau's 2009 American Community Survey. At the same time, only about 60 percent of city residents get to their jobs via an automobile, according to census data, a figure that is lower than for all but a few other cities. A quarter of Philadelphians commute via public transit, and nearly 9 percent walk to work - figures that are among the highest in the country.

Check it out - it's a great package, as the main story goes into how Philadelphia is beter primed than a lot of cities for walkability and/or bike-ability, and it's supplemented by quick takes on the pros and cons of car ownership, some must-have swag for the carless life, and even a mobile-phone game where you can hone your mad skillz on two wheels.  

As more people step out of their single-owner cars and explore different avenues of transport around town, it's inevitable that some will see the advantages for themselves and work such eco-friendly travel into their daily routines. What remains to be seen, though, is whether enough Philadelphians will stick with the switch if economic pressures recede. Keep your fingers crossed, but before crossing, be sure to look both ways!

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About this blog
Earth to Philly is a weblog focusing on earth-conscious technology, trends and ideas, from a Daily News perspective. We look at the "green" aspects of your home, business, food, transportation, style, policy, gadgets and artwork. If you have a Philly-related story, Click here to let us know about it!

The experts at Philadelphia's Energy Coordinating Agency answer your energy questions in our regular feature Stay Warm, Stay Green. Send in your question or questions to

Look for Jenice Armstrong to supply tips on green living as well as occasional columns on the subject of Green. She also blogs at Hey Jen.

Becky Batcha stays tuned for the here-and-now practical side of conservation, alternative energy, organic foods, etc. - stuff you can do at home now. Plus odds and ends.

Laurie Conrad recycles from her ever-growing e-mailbag to pass along the latest travel deals, fashion statements, household strategies, gadgets, cool local events and other nuggets of interest to those who appreciate a clean, green world.

Vance Lehmkuhl looks at topics like eco-conscious eating, public transportation and fuel-efficient driving from his perspective as a vegetarian, a daily SEPTA bus rider and a hybrid driver, as well as noting the occasional wacky trend or product. Contact Vance with your 'green' news.

Ronnie Polaneczky sees the green movement through the eyes of her 12-year-old daughter, who calls her on every scrap of paper or glass bottle that Ronnie neglects to toss into the house recycling bins. Ronnie will blog about new or unexpected ways to go green. She also blogs at So, What Happened Was...

Sandra Shea and the DN editorial board opine on any green-related legislation or policy. And we'll pass along some of the opeds on the subject that people send us.

Jonathan Takiff will be blogging mainly about consumer electronics - those things that we love to use and that suck too much energy. He'll spotlight green-conscious gizmos made in a responsible fashion, both in terms of materials used and the energy it takes to run them.

Signe Wilkinson draws the comic strip Family Tree, which follows the Tree family as they try to live green in the face of nattering neighbors, plastic-wrapped consumer products, and the primal teenage urge to spend vast quantities of money on hair care products of dubious organic quality.

In addition to these updates from our newsroom bloggers, watch for an occasional feature, Dumpster Diver Dispatches, from Philadelphia's original "green" community of artists, the Dumpster Divers. You'll learn about creative ways to reuse and recycle while you reduce, and about the artists who are making little masterpieces from what others throw out.

  • Dispatch #1: Margaret Giancola's rugs from plastic bags
  • Dispatch #2: Dumpster Divers in City Hall (Art in City Hall series)
  • Dispatch #3: Wild wood, New Jersey
  • Dispatch #4: Dumpster Divers award winners announced
  • Dispatch #5: From sweaters to colorful cuddling
  • Dispatch #6: Green artists retake South Street Sunday
  • Dispatch #7: Isaiah Zagar: He's a Magic (Gardens) Man

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