Sunday, November 18, 2007

Gas mileage

I just returned from trip to Winston-Salem. I went there for North Carolina Writers' Network Fall Conference. I am on the Board of Trustees, so I am expected and obligated to attend the conferences. The conference actually started on Friday evening. Normally my wife would have gone with me, and we would have made the 3 hour trip on Friday afternoon to be there for the opening sessions that evening. This time she decided not to go, so I waited until Saturday, leaving my warm bed at 5:30 in the morning to be at the conference by 9:00.

I drove my wife's new Toyota Prius. She has had it only 3 weeks, and this was the first out-0f-town trip. These cars get wonderful gas mileage! I averaged 48.6 for the trip. With gas at $3.05 per gallon, this was a welcome bonus. But, there is a backside to this. The car's computer constantly shows the current gas consumption rate. If I am driving on a level stretch of road, the display will show 70-75 miles per gallon, but as soon as I reach a hill, the rate will drop into the 20's. If I pay much attention to this, I find I want to do something to keep that figure high, even though I know there is really nothing I can do except maybe slow down below my normal cruising speed. But I find myself thinking about this.

The obvious solution is to turn that mileage display off. Don't worry about it, as the final average is the only important thing. At the end of the trip, check the average, and then gloat to all the other drivers who are using gas guzzling SUVs. That's great for the ego!

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