Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Shhh...it's a Secret......

Yes. I have discovered a way to save twenty-five to thirty cents per gallon on gas for my car! I don't have to have a special "company credit card" or buy gift cards at Walmart. I don't have to get my car washed, or sign up for a "rewards card." I can go to any gas station, no matter what the listed price - I never have to drive out of the way to find a special station offering this price.

Thanks to my brother Andy for his help in this endeavor. He spends less on gas as well.
It's quite simple really - you too could spend less money on gasoline the easy, no-hassle way.

Lighten up on the accelerator. That's it. As Andy explains it, pretend that there is an un-cooked egg under the gas pedal. You don't want to break it...you accelerate gingerly.

When I first got my car, I was getting around 21 miles per gallon. Nothing to write home about, but I was willing to live with it. However, over time, my fuel economy kept dropping lower and lowever, until at 19.3 I went to Andy and said, "Something is wrong with my car!"

He explained (as my personal mechanic) that he doesn't try to diagnose poor fuel economy mechanically, there are too many variables. He suggested I try his method of driving and see if it made a difference.

I went from 19.3 to 21.5 right away. I've done some distance driving lately, so I've been hovering at 22.5 for the last month or two.

That adds up to a 10% increase in gas mileage, and with the price of gas hovering near $3.00 per gallon...I'll take the 30 cents savings! And if that doesn't sound impressive...I've been doing this for 6 months, and can reasonably estimate that I've saved $100 on gas. That's enough money to buy some nice yarn for a sweater!!

And I know this is a secret, because every time I start forward at a stop light, all of the the other cars on the road just about rear-end me because they have their foot on the floor. Yes, I'm the car in front of you that is going to make you 20 seconds later to your destination! I do stay in the right lane to give you a chance to go around...but I'm not gonna go faster just to get out of your way!

I've also discovered the zen of it all. In order to drive more economically, I spent the first month chanting to myself..."I'm not in a hurry, I'm not in a hurry. I'll get there in plenty of time." And it's true. I haven't noticed any discernable change in the amount of time it takes me to go places. Possibly this has also been good for my blood-pressure!

Now, I'm all about saving money for gas, and I'm all about helping the environment, reducing pollution etc.

But that's not actually my point.

We in the United States pay way too little for gas. Sure, I whine and complain with every price hike....but I don't get serious about making changes until the price at the pump goes up. NOW I start to drive smarter, run all my errands on one day, try to avoid extra trips. And that's just the tip of the iceberg. Double the price of gas, and I'm finding someone to carpool with, screaming for better public transportation and eyeing a mo-ped. I won't be the only one driving on eggshells, and car manufacturers won't be able to sell anything but Volkswagen beetles (diesel).

Raising the price is the only way to actually change our wildly wasteful consumption of oil. We won't change because of the environmental destruction, or the fact that we depend on getting our most vital resource from people who hate us.

Which still isn't the point. The point is: Oil is not a renewable resource. When it's gone, it's gone. And just because it isn't scheduled to happen in my lifetime isn't an excuse to use it all up.

Our ancestors laid waste to many non-renewable resources. Great herds of buffalo are gone. There are small domestic herds, but the great wild herds are gone. Old growth timber!! Sure, we replant, but native old growth trees will certainly not happen in my lifetime, or that of the next few generations. Let's take a lesson....

Tax the heck out of me for flagrantly wasting gas, and use the money for public transportation and the cost of changing the infrastructure of our society to renewable fuels. Don't use the money for social programs, or propping up Social Security, or disaster relief. That's what all my other taxes are for. Don't give it to big oil companies, or foreign governments and organizations bent on our destruction. Use to fix the actual problem.

Yes, my paltry 22.5 mpg is an embarassment. But I'm trying to see if I can get further improvement by slowing down sooner as I approach a stop. Just thought I'd give fair warning to all of you driving behind me.....

1 comment:

Pastor Beisel said...

I like the idea of starting slower. Sounds like a good way to save money on gas. The sad thing is, we do not in fact pay "too little" for gas. The only reason we are paying so much for gas is because we can't drill for oil in Alaska, and we haven't built any new oil refineries for about thirty years. Why? Because of those who think that humans destroy the environment. Oh, and let's not forget the completely unnecessary taxes placed on gas, and the fact that in order to "save the environment" from us wasteful humans, emission standards are so high that it costs a bunch more to produce the gas at the standards which environmentalist lobbyists demand. But I'm not bitter or anything.