TTAC's Incredibly Useful Guide to Saving Gas
High gas prices are a bit like the weather: everyone’s complaining but no one’s doing anything about it. Actually, that’s not true. At the sharp end, consumers are buying more fuel efficient vehicles. They’re driving less. We’ve even heard talk of gas-conscious automobilists driving more slowly. Now THAT’S serious, and, to mind, reprehensible. So, while the mainstream media is full of helpful advice on how to use less gas (e.g. take those gold bars out of your trunk), I hereby present TTAC’s unconventional guide to saving fuel this summer.
1. Let someone else drive. I know: Hell is other people. But we’re talking about freeing America from its dependence on foreign oil, stopping the oceans from overrunning the coasts (whatever happened to that idea?) and saving enough money to buy better quality alcohol. Which reminds me: designated drivers don’t usually drive your car…
Of course, that dodge won’t work during the day. In that case, don’t have a car– even if you do. In all cases, common courtesy says you should offer to help pay for gas. But before you do the right thing, hide your credit cards and carry no more than $10 in cash. By the same token, avoid car pools. They are official arrangements where someone is always calculating costs.
2. Don’t go to work. Let’s face it: work sucks. And half the time you’re there, you’re doing nothing more than schmoozing with people you can’t stand or sitting in meetings where nothing that gets discussed actually gets done. Telecommute.
The trick with this strategy is to start small. Ask the boss for an afternoon off– ONE– to work from home. Send him enough email cc’s so that he knows you’re not not working. Then make it formal. Then gradually increase it to a full day. Then two. Then three.
And make sure you show up on days when you’re NOT scheduled to be in the office. That way the boss knows just how dedicated you are (i.e. he’s never quite sure if you’re supposed to be there or not).
3. Get everything delivered. If humans weren’t warm-blooded, we wouldn’t need to eat so damn often. But hey, we didn’t get to the top of the food chain (never mind Camaro-ownership) by basking in the sun all day long. Darwin rules. As does your local grocery chain’s delivery service, which will gladly drop off all your basic foodstuffs after six hours spent registering on the internet.
In fact, pizza lover, virtually everything you need to survive in this life can be delivered to your door: your children, dry cleaning, alcohol, hookers, everything. Alternatively, stop buying so much shit in the first place. A 1080 HDTV with a PS3 (rent games and movies via snail mail) and a maximum cable bundle will help in that regard. Hey, sometimes you gotta spend money to save money. I mean, the environment.
4. Add a fuel surcharge. This is the flipside of bumming rides, and it’s surprisingly effective.
First and foremost, don’t let anyone passenger in your car without kicking-in for gas. Guilt trip them on saving trees or limiting foreign entanglements or personal penury. It may sound mean– OK it is– but deduct a small percentage from your children’s allowance to teach them about environmental responsibility. Call it the Revenge of the Soccer Mom.
If you’re the boss, tack on an optional (small print) customer charge to cover your gas costs. If you live close to either coast, call it a “carbon offset fee.” If you’re an employee, ask your boss for a gas allowance. Again, start small. “These fuel prices are killing me. Do you think the company could kick in $10 a week for my gas?” Get the accountant in the habit of paying for your receipts…
5. Get the taxpayers to pay for your gas. There are lots of part-time government gigs– both elected and appointed– that come with free gas (if not a free car), from city councilor to “private consultant.” Most drivers won't consider this option because it means spending thousands of hours telling people exactly what they want to hear (i.e. lying) despite the fact that they're ill-informed or deeply misguided. But there is a hidden payoff: public service puts you in the unique position where you can lecture people about the evils of Big Oil knowing that these same people are paying your fuel bills.
And now I throw it to you, TTAC’s Best and Brightest. What other “unconventional” methods can beleaguered motorists deploy to take the sting out of soaring fuel costs? Although I’ve restricted myself here to the [barely] plausible, feel free to wander into the realm of the ridiculous. Remember: our country’s future, indeed, the safety of our entire planet is at stake! Not to mention your beer money.
Nametag on Jun 21, 2008
Last summer when gas just poked through the $3's, I witnessed a guy who weaved his way from the street in his Expedition through the parking to the grocery store I was about to cross to the parking lot. He stopped as he approached me and solicited me for "spare change for gas". When I declined, he weaved his way through the shopping center, found no one and went to the neighboring shopping center to find a willing giver. Someone needs to pay this man to go back to school... if he can get there.
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