LONDONDERRY, N.H.-Alcohol and gasoline don't mix, but perhaps gasoline and yogurt do-and with cost-conscious motorists and the environment being all the better for it.
After learning that motorists could conserve up to 2 million gallons of gasoline each day just by keeping their tires properly inflated, Stonyfield Farm-an environmentally-conscious producer of ice cream, yogurt and other dairy products-has scheduled day-long tire inflation pressure checking events for several major U.S. cities.
There, motorists are encouraged to learn how to check and maintain tire pressure, thereby saving themselves money at the gas pump and helping preserve the world's finite supply of petroleum-based fuel.
Participants also are offered a tasty dairy treat and the chance to enter a raffle for an energy-efficient refrigerator-all courtesy of Stonyfield Farm.
The promotional program is similar in purpose, although completely independent of the ``Be Smart, Play Your Part'' tire inflation and maintenance program sponsored by the Washington-based Rubber Manufacturers Association, made up of tire makers.
The Londonderry-based food company has conducted two such events to date. The first was in Houston June 30, the second in Chicago on July 30. Two more events are planned for early September-one in Baltimore, the other in Washington D.C.
Lauren Sharfman of the Chicago-based Environmental Law and Policy Center (ELPC), which also took part in the Windy City event, estimated 100 motorists brought their cars into the parking lot of the Whole Foods Market where it took place. A Stonyfield Farm spokesman said many visitors also were walk ins. He estimated the total turnout closer to 250 people.
Ms. Sharfman said the ELPC-funded by charitable grants, for the most part from foundations-participated mostly by answering visitors' questions and assisting Stonyfield Farm's inflation instructors. She said news crews from a local FM radio station and the Chicago ABC network television affiliate also turned out to cover the event.
The ability to check and maintain tire pressure is particularly necessary today, she said. ``We don't have full-service gasoline stations anymore. So people really need to learn how to do it for themselves. As simple as it sounds, we found a lot of people who did not know how to check their tire pressure.''
Workers not only checked and adjusted the inflation pressure of visitors' tires if needed, but also showed motorists how to do so on their own, and where on the car to look for the vehicle manufacturer's recommendation on tire pressure. ``We tell them (checking tire pressure) is as easy as turning off a light switch,'' Ms. Sharfman said.
Stonyfield Farm's spokeman said the project took shape after the company learned of an estimate by the Union of Concerned Scientists that proper tire inflation could save 2 million gallons of fuel daily.
He said Stonyfield Farm-which donates 10 percent of its profits to causes that help protect and restore the earth-was founded in 1983 on the proposition that it is possible to produce all natural and organic products, educate consumers about the environment and still be profitable. Wise energy use, sustainable farming and global warming are a few of the topics often featured on the company's yogurt lids, along with calls to action.
Its current yogurt container lids, for example, feature messages such as: ``Wake up, Washington! Increasing U.S. auto efficiency by just 1 mpg would save more fuel than will be produced from drilling the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. The only real refuge for our children is energy conservation.''
For its efforts, the company said it has received several environmental awards, including two from the President's Council on Sustainable Development and the Global Green USA's Green Cross Millennium Award for Corporate Environmental Leadership.