With the improving economy, many jansan professionals are now considering the purchase of new vehicles-spending they had postponed due to the economic uncertainty of the past two years.
 
But according to Stephen Ashkin, CEO of Sustainability Dashboard Tools, LLC, an online service that helps small businesses monitor, measure, and reduce their use of natural resources and cut costs, they should select the most fuel-efficient car possible.
 
This is supported by recent comments made by the former head of Shell Oil, John Hofmeister, who predicts Americans will pay five dollars a gallon for gasoline by 2012.
 
"Blackouts, brownouts, gas lines, rationing, that's my projection," says Hofmeister, who puts much of the blame for this on the federal government, which he says is making "politically driven [energy] decisions" that are not addressing the challenges ahead.
 
According to Ashkin, Hofmeister believes that as gasoline prices escalate and energy shortages become more commonplace, "the federal government will panic and go into reverse, drilling for more and more scarce gas and oil instead of looking for 21st-century renewable energy sources."
 
Because of this, Ashkin makes the following suggestions for cleaning professionals who are now considering a more fuel-efficient automobile:
• Start with U.S. government recommendations found here.
• Visit sites such as Edmonds.com, which compares the fuel consumption of four-, six-, and eight-cylinder autos; standard versus automatic transmission; and hybrids, diesels, electric, and natural gas cars. The site is located here.
• Know the driving range of electric and natural gas cars. Some have limited refueling options (such as ports for electric cars).
• Analyze your needs. The smaller and lighter the car, the more fuel efficient it will be.
 
"And if using a "dashboard" system to measure the car's fuel performance, begin monitoring it as soon as the car is put into service," adds Ashkin. "This will help establish a baseline so you know exactly how much fuel the new vehicle consumes."