Initial investments could yield big energy savings over time

Some options include electric cars, solar panels

INDIANAPOLIS - Rising gas prices and increasing utility bills are forcing people to look for other ways to save money on energy spending.

Two men in separate counties were tired of complaining and found ways to save money.

George Pelton believes his $40,000 investment on a Chevrolet Volt is saving him money in the long run.

“It’s great to have an alternative. I don’t have anything against oil companies. But to be dependent on them is something I didn’t like. Now I’m independent,” Pelton said.

He said he can do about 45 miles per gallon with his air conditioning on.

He does a lot of commuting within Indianapolis, but his Volt can switch to gasoline when he is on a long-distance trip.

Pelton is proud that he can often go for months without needing to fill up his tank, and he is very happy to not be subject to increasing fuel prices .

Neil Thompson has also found a way to cut energy costs by using solar panels to help power his home in Hamilton County.

“Our utility bill is zero, zip, nada. Zero,” Thompson said.

His meter can often be found running backwards, which means he is not charged for electricity.

His home is connected to the power grid which he occasionally leans on when his 42 panels can’t soak in enough sun.

The sunroom in his home also contributes to his energy savings. On cool days, the room’s design warms up the rest of the house, which keeps the furnace off and the utility company off of his back.

“These panels will last 30 to 40 years with little to no problem, and the system has the least amount of maintenance of any renewal system out there,” Thompson said.

Both men agree that their investments are paying off in big ways.

Neither man is fully independent from energy. Pelton pays about $15 a month to charge his vehicle and Thompson pays $10 a month to keep his home connected to his power company.

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