Cruise Line Seeks To Trim Fuel Bill

In Miami, Royal Caribbean says it's turning off air conditioners, changing lightbulbs, and taking other common-sense steps to reduce its fuel bill. It's also adjusting arrival and departure times to allow ships to reduce sailing speeds and conserve.

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GREG ALLEN: I'm Greg Allen in Miami, where cruise ships, like airlines, are also facing huge and growing fuel costs. Royal Caribbean, the industry's second largest cruise operator this year, expects its fuel bill to rise by $225 million. The company has taken common-sense steps on its cruise ships, turning off air conditioning, closing curtains in passenger cabins, and replacing halogen lights with new energy-efficient LEDs.

John Krousouloudis with Royal Caribbean's Celebrity Cruise Line says most of the company's ships now also use a new type of silicon-based paint that gets rid of a major problem, marine growth on ships' hulls.

Mr. JOHN KROUSOULOUDIS (Vice President, Marine Operations for Celebrity Cruises) Marine growth is what really creates the hull resistance in the water that drags up your fuel bill.

ALLEN: Royal Caribbean is also taking steps to optimize itineraries, adjusting port arrival and departure times so that ships can reduce speeds and save fuel whenever possible. As a purveyor of luxury, Krousouloudis says Royal Caribbean has to balance the drive for energy efficiency against the demand for passenger comfort. Later this year, he says a new ship, the Solstice, will join the Celebrity Line fleet, and it does just that.

Mr. KROUSOULOUDIS: A whole array of things are turning to the ship to make it more efficient, starting with a whole form, for example, the way the form was designed using the latest technology, all the way to the installation of solar panels on the ship. This is the first ship in our fleet that is going to have solar panels.

ALLEN: Krousouloudis hopes eventually to retrofit other ships in the fleet with solar panels. After all, he says, cruise ships always try to go where it's sunny and nice.

At the port of Miami, Greg Allen, NPR News.

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Rising Oil Prices Goad Industries To Conserve

An MD-80 aircraft sits on the Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport. i i

hide captionAn MD-80 aircraft sits on the tarmac at the Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport. American Airlines is retiring this fleet.

Rick Gershon/Getty Images
An MD-80 aircraft sits on the Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport.

An MD-80 aircraft sits on the tarmac at the Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport. American Airlines is retiring this fleet.

Rick Gershon/Getty Images

After a brief respite, oil prices are moving higher again. The price per barrel rose more than $5 Thursday, closing at just over $121.

The months and months of high prices have provided more than enough incentive for American businesses — from airlines to cruise lines to newspapers — to invest in long-term energy saving measures.

Airlines Replace Planes

The airline industry will spend more than $61 billion on fuel this year. With a bill like that, there's little wonder that carriers are taking steps to cut energy costs.

American Airlines, the world's largest, is changing the planes it flies.

It's quickly retiring the workhorse of its fleet: the MD-80. Many MD-80s are nearly 20 years old, and they burn lots of fuel. American is replacing them with new Boeing 737s, which are about 25 percent more fuel efficient, according to the airline.

Cruise Lines Adjust Times

Cruise lines are dipping their oars in those waters as well.

In Miami, Royal Caribbean says it's turning off air conditioners, changing light bulbs and taking other commonsense steps to reduce its $772 million fuel bill.

It's also adjusting arrival and departure times to allow ships to reduce sailing speeds and conserve. These are some steps that are unique to the cruise business.

Royal Caribbean is using a new kind of paint that keeps ship hulls clean.

"Marine growth is what really creates ... resistance in the water," says John Krousouloudis of Royal's Celebrity Cruise Lines. "And that drives up [our] fuel bill."

Newspapers Consolidate Deliveries

On a much smaller scale, independent businesses are making changes to cut their fuel bills.

In Nashville, Tenn., newspaper deliveryman Frank Saracino says he's doing some of his routes on Sundays and evenings to avoid wasting gas in traffic.

He's also consolidating deliveries, and sharing work with his competitors.

"I will work with another driver," Saracino says. "He'll run some of my stuff and I will run some of his stuff."

And he's not the only one. Nationwide, more than 40 percent of papers now collaborate with a competitor on delivery.

Energy-Efficient Appliances Sell Fast

With all of the focus on reducing energy use, energy-efficient appliances are selling fast at stores around the country.

At Appliance Distributors Unlimited just outside Washington, D.C., showroom manager Ed Janeski says his catalogs are filled with products featuring the little blue "energy star" sticker.

And his store is getting in on the act itself. It has installed programmable thermostats to cut off the air conditioning or heat during off hours.

Reported by Wade Goodwyn, Greg Allen, Audie Cornish and Libby Lewis.

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