Radio Address By Arkansas Governor Mike Beebe

LITTLE ROCK - Governor Beebe's weekly radio address can be found online in MP3 format and downloadable for radio use at this page.

To download the file directly, click here.

Too many Arkansas families today are struggling under the weight of increasingly higher gas prices. With $4.04 now the national average price per gallon, and experts predicting a year ahead of continued misery at the pump, the burden on our people and our communities is growing heavier. We have watched as high gas prices forced families to postpone summer vacations, as gas prices made people think twice about driving for that weekend trip they'd planned, but recently, gas prices have taken an even greater toll.

I've seen stacks of letters and e-mails from citizens across the State, and my office has fielded countless phone calls from people telling me about emptying their wallets at the pump just to cover their daily commute to work. The price of gas is becoming prohibitive and is affecting all facets of life. Arkansas families are no longer just planning vacations closer to home. The cost of gas is forcing them to choose between driving to work and the most basic activities of life. If you don't know anyone who's been forced to decide between filling up the car or filling up the grocery cart, believe me, it's the reality too many Arkansas families are facing. I know. I'm hearing about it. I feel it. Our communities feel it.

This is the reality we're dealing with and it doesn't look likely to change tomorrow, or the next day, or the next.

I am not given the power, as Governor, to resolve issues of international diplomacy with OPEC, and I can't force Congress to take on the oil companies. But there are some things, some basic tools we can all use, to alleviate some of the pain inflicted on us by sticker shock at the pump. Efficient driving is not only good for the environment; it's good for your pocketbook. And it makes a difference.

The typical Arkansas vehicle uses over 1,000 gallons of fuel and is driven more than 15,000 miles each year. With nearly 2 million registered vehicles in Arkansas, that adds up to a lot of miles traveled, a lot of gasoline consumed, and the harshest fact of all, a lot of money spent on gas.

Speeding, rapid acceleration, and frequent braking waste gas. Drive at an even speed and you can expect to get more miles to the gallon. Fuel efficiency drops dramatically when you drive over 55 miles per hour. Give yourself extra time to get where you're going. It's time well spent because it adds up to less money spent.

If yours is one of the families who are trying to go on vacation this summer, choose a location where a car isn't needed to get around once you've arrived. For relaxing rather than sightseeing, discover state parks or campgrounds closer to home. Pack carefully. Extra weight in the trunk costs more to haul. Baggage on a roof rack decreases miles-per-gallon. Take a train or bus instead of the family car. Let someone else do the driving. Save gasoline and enjoy the ride.

Planning is the key. Plan driving routes, combine errands, plan regular car maintenance, and plan your vacation - all with fuel economy in mind. Carpooling to work, for example, may allow you to bank saved gasoline dollars to make a trip possible.

You can find out more about carpooling and other ways to save gas and energy at my Web site, governor.arkansas.gov. Talk to your friends and the people you work with. Start a carpool. Change begins with you.

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The above content reflects the opinions of the author and not necessarily the policies of the National Governors Association.