FORT RUCKER, Ala. (October 27, 2011) -- October is Energy Awareness Month, but Fort Rucker's Directorate of Public Works gave residents a chance to learn more about conserving energy and saving money every day at the first annual Energy Expo Oct. 20.

While the event was small, it was well received by those who stopped by to see the displays, collect information and sit behind the wheel of several electric and hybrid vehicles, said Tony King, DPW Engineering Division resource efficiency manager. King explained that response from the community will help DPW expand next year's expo to appeal to a greater part of the community.

"We had a good cross-section of vendors including cars, energy efficient lighting and companies that help with saving energy. We hope that next year to have more exhibitors and to focus on renewable products like solar energy," he said.

Representatives from local and national companies such as Siemens, South Alabama Electric, Alabama Power, Mayer Electric and Bondy's Toyota were on site to give attendants information about saving energy.

"This is our first expo, so we're trying to get the ball rolling and learn how to make it better. We've been picking up ideas throughout the day. A lot of people have told us they received a lot of information about saving energy and reducing their electrical bill," said Pam Smith, DPW utilities specialist.

The biggest draw for crowds, according to King and Smith, was the all-electric Tesla Roadster and Chevrolet Volt at the entrance of the expo.

Randy Hoofman, who visited the expo primarily for the cars, enjoyed getting to compare the small roadster with the more familiar-looking Chevy.

"I have never seen (and electric) car before, and it's something I want to eventually own. Eventually prices will come down, and it will be a practical purchase," he said.

Along with getting a hands-on look at the cars, Hoofman appreciated the ability to see new gadgets and learn energy-saving tips.

"I like to see what's new and learn how to get away from fossil fuels," he said.

Those who attended the expo weren't the only ones who got to scope out the electric cars, however. King said that DPW test drove the Tesla Roadster with the members of Fort Rucker command before putting them on display.

King said that promoting energy conservation is an important aspect of DPW's work, this month and every month.

"We want to show people ways to save money and stretch their income further and teach them to be good stewards of the earth" he said.