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Drive smarter, pay less for gas

A few simple tips can boost mileage, stretch your wallet

Once again gasoline prices are climbing at breathtaking rates, with the $3-a-gallon prices showing up in some markets. Consumers will have to buy and drive smarter if they want to reduce their fuel bills.

While you might not be able to do anything about the price of gas, you can do something about how much you use. We found these ideas on the Internet. There are lots more available.

1) Even if the weather is still cold, warm up your car for only 30 to 45 seconds. Anytime the choke is engaged, more gas is burning. 2) Don't rev the engine or do jackrabbit starts. 3) Avoid unnecessary idling; the gas is burning, but no miles are being covered.

4) Believe it or not, buying gas when temperatures are the coldest gives you the edge of purchasing denser fuel per gallon; as the day warms, the gas expands. 5) Check out brands; if you purchase better quality fuel, you will get better mileage. 6) Keep your tire pressure checked. One study showed that you lose 2 percent in mileage for every pound your tires are under-inflated. At five pounds under-inflated, you're losing 10 percent on your car's mileage.

7) Remember, every additional device used &

8212; air conditioning, heater, etc. &

8212; causes the engine to burn more fuel. 8) Use public transit when possible and carpool whenever you can. 9) Walk from store to store instead of moving your car from one side of the mall to the other. 10) Don't exceed the speed limit. This has the potential added benefit of saving on traffic fines. Slow and steady saves gas dollars. The less we spend at the pump, the more influence we have on the consumer end of supply and demand. Cutting consumption is our best weapon for lowering prices.

If we genuinely hope to reduce our addiction to fossil fuels, consumers need to force the issue by spending less at the pump, not just at peak price times, but as a lifestyle adjustment for our planet's future.

Street or gallery?If you drive by Sean Kelly's house at Mountain Avenue and Siskiyou Boulevard in Ashland you won't see a yard blooming with tidy rows of spring flowers. But you'll definitely see splashes of color. Kelly's yard is decorated with his paintings, intense works of bright, bold color on a myriad of surfaces.

Kelly appears to be a talented artist and, as a rather glowing story in the Mail Tribune earlier this week noted, he has some fans among passersby. But we wonder whether his neighbors and others on that heavily traveled stretch of street don't occasionally ponder whether they are looking at works of art or a jazzy, colorful junkyard. In some neighborhoods a petition would start circulating to curb the ever-expanding, arty view.

Clearly, art is in the eye of the beholder, whether it is music, writings, or renderings. One thing about art is that if you don't like it, you can stay out of the gallery. That's not the case when an artist imposes his art on the neighborhood. If you don't like the disturbing "Scream"-like image leaning up against a tree near the sidewalk, it's hard to avoid without taking the long way around.

Artists in this country have the absolute freedom to paint, sculpt, write or build whatever they like. They also have the freedom to use common sense and common courtesy.