Saturday, September 13, 2008


This past summer, like a good green fellow, I tried hard to stretch every gallon of gas while driving our Odyssey. We have a Civic, too, but when we drive the 400 miles up to the Writer's Lair, we need the minivan to haul all our crap. (That's partly why the tiny house movement, described in the previous blogpost, appeals so much to me.)

As much as I could, I drove at exactly the limit -- 65 on the interstates and 55 on the two-lanes -- and got 26.5 to 27 miles per gallon. In previous years I'd do 70 and 60, reasoning that 5 mph over the limit was a gimme from the smokeys. Never got stopped, too. But I'd get only about 24 mpg at those speeds.

Trouble this summer was the Escalades and Navigators would bomb past me in the left lane at 80 (where were the cops?) and honk impatiently behind me on the two-lanes, as if doing the limit was a major inconvenience to them. The price of gasoline does not seem to deter aggressive, self-absorbed assholishness.

Dealing with that is bad enough at the speed limit, but "hypermiling" -- driving at a lower speed, usually 45 mph, designed to absolutely maximize miles per gallon -- is dangerous as hell, although more and more people are doing it. Hypermiling invites rear-ending on interstates and dangerous passing on curves on two-lanes.

But there is a sensible way to maximize mpg (it helps best if you drive a Prius), and that may come in especially handy now that Hurricane Ike has shut down the Gulf refineries and is driving the price of gas toward $5 a gallon.

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