Gas Is Expensive

Steve Martin in "The Jerk"

I know, it’s news to me too. But the nice thing is that I have recently been enjoying this handy little site that helps people keep each other updated on where the cheapest gas is. I like that my new car gets better mileage than the old one (~31-32mpg), but what’s more interesting is that the odometer spot has a number of functions, including two trip-meters, an average speed readout (I think this starts fresh each time I start the engine), an instantaneous miles-per-gallon display (the figure changes too much to be very useful), an average miles-per-gallon display (starts fresh each time gas is added to the tank), and a “how much farther you can go on this tank of gas” readout. It would be neat to be able to see all these figures at once, but there is only one display and I have to press the button to scroll through and select the statistic that I’d like to monitor. I generally leave it set to average miles per gallon, which I’ve noticed has had an effect on my driving habits as a strive to keep the numbers high. I tend to coast with the clutch in whenever possible, and rely much less on downshifting as a way to decelerate than ever before. Where I used to race off the line when the light turns green, I try not to gun it too much now. Don’t get me wrong: I still drive fast. I just take a little more time these days to get up to full speed.

In other news, my little brother graduated high school on Friday. I’m really disappointed that I couldn’t make it back for that, but hopefully we’ll get him out to California sometime this summer to visit. In the meantime, if anyone’s looking for some freelance stunt work, let me know and I’ll put you in touch with him.

5 thoughts on “Gas Is Expensive”

  1. On my trip I listened to NPR a lot. They had a story about those MPG scams, none of them really work, unless you’re car is really, really old, then the clean-air-filter trick might give you an extra 1-2mpg. According to NPR the only real way to save gas is to keep air in the tires, and drive slower.

    Rather than racing home at 80+ mph as I usually do on 57, I locked the cruise on at 60, and by my estimate, save about 1/8 of a tank.

    Nevertheless, since the Motorcycle get’s about 70mpg, I’m going to try to ride it more often, even if it’s raining.

  2. I may be wrong, but I’m not so sure that downshifting to slow down wastes gas. As I understand it, it’s simply a tradeoff between wear on your brakes and wear on your clutch/transmission (or, I guess if you’re just coasting to a stop, wear on nothing). Gas doesn’t enter the equation unless you’re pressing on the accelerator.

  3. hmm…that’s an interesting point, Colin. I guess I had assumed that because the engine is engaged and not simply idling when I downshift, that it’s drawing fuel. But now that you mention it, I realize that’s probably not the case. Again, I’m not sure.

    Incidentally, for anyone who hasn’t seen it, Travis posted about gas prices at There’s more there, too.

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