The governments of Maryland, Virginia and the District of Columbia are preparing for the potential impact of Hurricane Rita on fuel production supplies and gasoline prices, while urging their citizens to remain calm and take voluntary conservation measures. The powerful storm could affect several oil refineries if it follows its predicted path.
According to state energy officials, motorists in the National Capital Region can lessen the impact of high gasoline prices by taking common sense steps to conserve fuel. The Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments (COG) and state energy officials advise drivers to combine trips, use only one vehicle, carpool, telework, observe speed limits and perform maintenance checks on their cars.
“I encourage all District residents to get involved in the effort to reduce the effects of higher energy prices resulting from these devastating hurricanes. If each of us voluntarily cuts back on our gasoline use and puts into practice, simple energy saving techniques, we can significantly lower our city’s energy consumption and conserve together,” said Chuck Clinton, Director of the D.C. Energy Office.
“While the experience of the post Katrina period have shown incredible resilience in the ability to restore the energy infrastructure, and our local inventories have been restored to near normal levels, the current storm will once again test the system,” said Michael Richard, Director of Maryland Energy Administration. “Marylanders should do there part to minimize the impacts by being more mindful of their energy consumption and take measures to conserve.”
As recently as September 1, in response to Hurricane Katrina, state energy officials asked COG to review regional energy emergency action plans and discuss contingencies for fuel shortages.
“The region’s energy officials are actively communicating through COG just as they would during any potential emergency,” said David Robertson, Executive Director of the Council of Governments.
Regional officials at COG also reminded citizens of the Commuter Connections program that can help commuters find program car and van pools and help them explore telework as an alternative. Commuter Connections is sponsored by the Maryland, Virginia and District of Columbia Departments of Transportation. For more information on commuting alternatives, visit the Web site: www.commuterconnections.org.