The Wasatch Behind: Spud's ten ways to save gas
"Holy cow," I sputtered as I hung up the nozzle and screwed the gas cap back on old rusty bucket, the world's best pickup truck. "Sixty-six dollars for twenty gallons of regular gasoline. What is the world coming to?"
"Yea," Uncle Spud said, "and the price is going up every week. We might see four-dollar gasoline before the end of the summer."
"What can we do about it?" I asked.
"We can do what they do in Alaska when it snows," the Spudster smiled.
"They just let it snow," he giggled. "What else can you do?"
"There must be something we can do," I insisted. "Four-dollar gasoline will ruin our economy. Everything we buy will be priced higher to pay for transportation costs."
"There are some things you can do," Uncle Spud said. "You have at least four options. You can park the car and ride a horse or a bicycle - we don't have mass transit here on the Elmo frontier. You can sell old rusty bucket and buy a Yugo that gets 50 miles per gallon. You can find creative ways to conserve fuel. Or, you can do what the oil company executives do - pillage and plunder - and use the proceeds to buy anything you want, including premium unleaded."
"Your first option is not practical," I said. "Horse feed is higher than gas nowadays. Hay costs over 100 dollars a ton and a big fat horse can eat a ton of hay in a hurry. And, with my horse spending most of his time sleeping in the shade, I figure he gets about 30-miles to the ton. It's cheaper to buy gas. And then, too, a bicycle might be an option for some people, but an old fat guy like me in spandex shorts would stop traffic for miles. And besides, those stupid bike helmets scrunch-up my cowboy hat."
"And I'm sure you wouldn't sell old rusty bucket and buy a Yugo," Spud smiled.
"Not a chance," I assured him. "Yugos are Hybrid-cars, part automobile and part golf cart, and they won't go where old rusty bucket travels. I need four-wheel drive and high ground clearance to get to the San Rafael Swell and points south. Those tiny cars have itsy-bitsy little licorice tires and they hug the pavement like water-skater bugs. They are called Yugos, because when you get off the main road, Yugo on foot or Yuget stuck."
"The next option is conservation," Uncle Spud said, "and I just happen to have a few suggestions:"
1: Always drive downhill. Uphill driving burns more gas.
2: Stretch your fuel budget by bumming a ride, or borrowing someone else's car for those short trips to town.
3: Always drive at maximum speed. The faster you get there, the less time you run the engine. It only makes sense.
4: Reduce the weight of your car. Get rid of "extra" things like spare tires, bumpers, back seats, hubcaps, windshield wipers, etc.
5: Always drive with the wind at your back. If the wind is blowing west to east, go to Green River instead of Provo to do your shopping.
6: When you have a good tailwind, drive with your trunk open. It makes a sail to help push you along.
7: Your six or eight cylinder engine has more power than you really need. Pull a few sparkplug wires and go to four cylinders to save gas. (Don't do it!)
8: Carpool as much as possible. A carpool happens when large numbers of cars bunch-up on the freeway. When you get in the middle of a pool of cars, there is less wind resistance and it helps with gas mileage.
9: Put bigger tires on your car. A gain of one inch in tire circumference means you travel one inch farther with each rotation of the tire. After 63,360 rotations, you've gained a whole mile.
10: You can drastically increase your gas mileage by not re-setting the trip meter to zero every time you get gas. Ten gallons into 100 miles is only ten-miles per gallon. Ten gallons into 500 miles is 50-miles per gallon. It looks better on paper, and it's so easy to do.
"Actually, I think I like the plunder and pillage option best," I confessed.
"Sorry," Spud said. "Congress and the oil company executives have that option covered."