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f/k/a archives . . . real opinions & real haiku

May 21, 2005

gas pain?

Filed under: pre-06-2006 — David Giacalone @ 4:38 pm

Back in April, a pretty CNN newsreader said viewers who’ve been having

trouble paying to fill their gas tank should stay tuned for some tips on how to

cope.   I did, and was a bit disappointed that the consumer segment offered

only one solution to higher gasoline prices — buy a new hybrid car.  That’s right: 

just rush out and purchase a new car that costs $3000 to $6000 more than

similar all-gasoline models. 


rising gas prices–

an attendant changing numbers

in a pouring rain


      from Modern Haiku (Winter-Spring 2005)


 gas pump g  Somehow, I don’t think a new hybrid car is the solution for these folk

(, “Low-Income Drivers Look for Help with High Gas Prices,” March 18, 2005). 

Even people who consider themselves middle-class Americans might find adding a

new Prius, much less the $50,000 Lexus hybrid SUV, impractical. (,

Is a hybrid car right for you?“)  So, what can you do if gas prices are killing you?



         on the freeway–
the skywriting drifts


click here for orig. photo & poem


My former employer, the Federal Trade Commission, has come to the rescue, with 

a Consumer Alert — Good, Better, Best: How to Improve Gas Mileage  (May 19,

2005, press release).  Beyond buying an alternative fuel vehicle or hybrid car, the

FTC and American Automobile Association suggest a dozen ideas that can improve

your fuel efficiency noticeably.  Here are a few that you might want to keep in mind

(and me, too):

Drive more efficiently – stay within posted speed limits (Gas mileage  55 limit n

decreases rapidly at speeds above 60 miles per hour); stop aggressive

driving and jackrabbit starts; use overdrive and cruise control; avoid

unnecessary idling. Combine errands; avoid packing items on the car

roof (can cut down efficincy 5%);  remove excess weight (no, not your

spouse) — 100 fewer pounds can save 2%.


Maintain your car – keep the engine tuned, tires properly inflated and

aligned, change the oil on schedule, and check and replace air filters regularly.

Replacing clogged filters can increase gas mileage up to 10 percent.


Use the proper octane level – if your engine isn’t knocking with regular

octane, there’s no benefit to go higher.  

update: As we stated in a post on June 14, 2005, “driving at 10 miles an hour above the 65 miles-per-hour limit increases fuel consumption by 15 percent.” (See NYT, “Unmentioned Energy Fix: A 55M.P.H. Speed Limit,” May 1, 2005) 


tiny check Walter Olson is relieved that Menace of gasoline underpricing averted

again”  It seems that Maryland has been invoking a law, meant to prevent predatory

prices used to drive competitors out of the market, which prohibits selling gasoline

below cost.  I’d explain why this approach is not always a silly one, but it’s too nice

outside right now.


tiny check  The New York Times reports today that America’s “Love Affair with S.U.V.’s

Begins to Cool” (May 21, 2005).


“tinyredcheck”   Not really related — except that it might make the roads safer and reduce beer-

belly-drag ineffiency: The Harvard Gazette reports that “Kudzu Cuts Alcohol Consumption

by about one-half. 


ooh Gary Bloom at EdmondsForum recently mentioned an Unintended Consequence of

hybrid cars — more roadkill:

[S]ince I already scolded SUVs for their psychopathic tendency to kill

humans, it’s only fair that I point out the danger of almost silent cars, which

hybrids are at slow speeds. Ever see a “Deaf Child in Neighborhood” sign?

Hybrids make us all, in effect, deaf. Drivers of hybrids are noting that silence

is not golden; they’re running over unwary animals and it could get worse.



spring breeze–
three ride the same horse


a penny’s worth of
cold water, the horse
drinks too


pickup g



sound of a horse
gobbling grass…
fireflies flitting



translated by David G. Lanoue



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