Wednesday, July 09, 2008

High gas prices making people do strange things

I read this nearly full page article in the Dallas Morning News with great amusement. The article titled "Hypermilers driven to maximize gas mileage" talks about several individuals who have made adjustments to their driving lifestyles and do strange things to derive the maximum gas mileage out of their cars.

The article starts off with the case study of one Chuck Thomas. How does he manage to get more bang for his buck? He drives at a steady 50 mph on highways even as other cars zip past him at 70 mph or more. I have seen on US highways driving at 50 is near impossible, motorists behind you come threateningly close and do all kinds of things to make you speed up. But these "Hypermilers" are obstinate they don't go faster. Then what else do they do, they install high-tech gadgetry to track gas mileage on their dashboard guages. Then often they stop the car and push it into their parking slots to save a few drops of fuel. And the results have been astounding to say in the least. Chuch is getting 80-90 mpg (miles per gallon) out of his car which is supposed to deliver only 53 mpg.

I find it outright ridiculous that Americans are indulging in such acrobatics to save gas. Fuel is only $4 per gallon here compared to approximately $6 per gallon in India and I don't remember having done any of these kind of acrobatics to save fuel. I had three advantages one, my car is small it is powered by a 3-cylinder 800 cc engine and delivers a whopping 40 mpg on highway and 30-35 mpg in the city. And then I prefer to ride the motorcycle most of the time and only when it is absolutely necessary I take the car out.

But what do I say about American cars and the roads here. I have time and again seen one individual driving a huge V-8 truck or Luxury SUV which delivers about 12-17 mpg. The present fuel crises is chasticising Americans to a great extent it is showing them that they can't ignore environment completely and exploit the finite resources endlessly. Now thanks to $4 per gallon fuel prices many people here are thinking about economical and smaller cars. If they had thought about these things 10 years ago, probably the mortgage crises could have been avoided. Think about it!

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