The cost of operating a car jumps

Outside of your home, your vehicle is likely the second most expensive item on the budget.

We Americans love our automobiles. And unless you living in the city or have unusual access to public transportation, it's difficult to do without them.

Especially in the South. If you can afford it, you likely have one, or two, or three.

AAA has done a survey to determine exactly how much it costs you to operate that family sedan. The cost has gone up 4.8 percent in the past year (mainly because of gasoline prices) to 56.6 cents per mile.

The expense is $8,487 per year and is based on 15,000 miles of annual driving.

That sounds a little high, but AAA has figured in all the expenses including cost of the vehicle, insurance, license and registration fees, taxes, depreciation and finance charges, fuel, maintenance and tires.

AAA says the costs range from 43.3 cents per mile for a tiny fuel-efficient car to 73.9 cents a mile for a four-wheel drive SUV.

AAA says you can keep your car running more cost efficiently by getting regular oil changes. It's better to spend about $100 a year on oil changes than replacing a new engine, which can run up to $4,000.

NOTHING TO DO: You've heard folks in Albany complain there is nothing to do in this town. It's a common lament, not unique to Albany.

Emerge Albany, a group of young professionals here affiliated with the Albany Area Chamber of Commerce, has a mission to dispel that myth.

Emerge Albany has begun a "Year of Discovery" to educate residents on the various things you can do with your family.

Members of Emerge Albany have taken on the challenge of doing all 100 things on a list compiled by the Chamber. The list includes suggested activities for each month of the year.

Many of the events require nothing but an investment of time. For example, one suggestion is to listen to the music and sit on a piano key at Ray Charles Plaza along the Flint River.

You should check out the list. You can find it on the Chamber's Web site at www.albanyga.com. Once on the site, click on business resources and then click on young professionals. You'll see the list there.

You might not make all 100 things, but if you complete just half of them, you'll know more about your family and the community. And, the community will be a better place.

OPENING: The Tifton-Tift County Chamber of Commerce is looking for a new president and executive director of the Tift County Development Authority following Thursday's resignation of Brad Day.

Day has filled those roles since mid-2008. Day said he has a business consulting business and plans to remain in Tifton.

APPOINTMENT: Gov. Sonny Perdue has appointed James Ray Saunders to the Georgia Firefighters Standards and Training Council. Saunders of Doerun is a county commissioner in Colquitt County.

He operates Saunders Brothers Farms.