Sunday, May 25, 2008

Observations on the Road to Graduation

I am now the proud father of 2 college graduates and the owner of 2 former college monthly bills. Thank goodness because the extra cash comes just in time to pay my gasoline bill.
With the oil companies and the speculators driving the price up through the roof life is becoming far more interesting and much closer to home for most. And it will only be getting better, or worse depending on which is your side of the equation. Thank goodness our president has decided to ask his OPEC friends for help. Of course they turned him down. They no longer need his help and he was only half-heartedly asking anyway as he and his friends have benefited greatly.
So what is a normal guy or gal on the ground, or rather the road to do? Well for one thing we could all drive a little slower and not make any sudden starts and stops that cause us to use more gas. This will not help the world out of the crisis but it will make our own usage drop a bit and save us money.
On my recent round trip of 600 miles I drove the speed limit or less for the entire trip gradually changing speeds whenever I was able and making sure to stay out of situations that would cause a sudden screeching stop. As a result my gas mileage, I just calculated it for the entire voyage which included highway as well as local street and traffic driving conditions was 28.
Perhaps that does not seem like a lot but remember I drive an SUV, okay it's a hybrid but it normally gets around 21 mpg. Also take into account that the car was loaded with my wife's and my luggage going down and very heavy luggage filled with two thirds of my son's stuff from college on the return. Typically you can increase your mileage with less weight being towed so I am very happy with these results.
One other point that I found interesting was the reaction I received from my fellow travelers. Actually calling them fellows or travelers is not completely accurate. The other drivers I encountered on the road should mostly be called morons. On a three lane highway I stayed in the middle lane thus allowing the faster drivers the left lane and the exiting and entering ones a free right lane. Many times people would pull up to my tail and drive so close I could have popped the trunk and invited them in. Some, especially low-life types driving alone in a gas guzzling Toyota pick ups would stay there trying to get me to speed up and failing that would pass me and express various degrees of disgust. I received an altered "We're Number One" finger, some disgusted shakes of the head and several screams of anger, many from women.
On a few ocassions I noticed cars weaving in and out trying to advance only to fail. One such driver was finally able to get ahead of me and did so by cutting into my lane in front of me so close that I felt sure we had to hit each other.
But at the end of the day I had the last laugh as I saved $28.00 on gas. This figure is based on my previous gas mileage versus my actual usage multiplied by the $4 per gallon price of gas as of the time this was written. ($4 will soon be a fond memory as we head for $6 and $7 per Bush, I mean gallon.)
One other personal observation and I know it will piss off millions of Americans (if only they could and would read this) is at this time in our history with the oil crisis a top news item every day WHAT THE HELL IS UP WITH NASCAR? Can there be a more stupid thing to do with what's left of our fossil fuel than wasting it on an oval track to nowhere? Every ounce these morons waste driving around a track at ridiculous speeds in order to see which testosterone laden brainless wonder (and that includes you too, Danica) will take the beer-filled cup at the finish line pollutes our atmosphere and teaches our youth to continue to waste natural resources. And if you wish to point out that there are so many fans who live for these events I will point out that I saw many of them on my round trip to Maryland. They were the ones who slow down when they see an accident hoping to see blood and wreckage. It is the same rubber-necking fools who sit for hours in the sun, drinking booze and rooting for one driver or another to waste his 5 miles per gallon in a faster way than the other guy. Isn't it funny that most of these rednecks are Republicans and Bush supporters? If they were really patriots perhaps they could suspend NASCAR for a while, say a year or thirty. You know, just until our environment catches it's breath. (I think the Indi 500 is far worse than the Chicago 7.)
But back to my trip. I saved money and gas and that is only a personal thing but if everyone saved and conserved it could actually make a small difference. Perhaps not as much as is needed worldwide because the Chinese and the Indian communites are adding over 2,000,000 cars per day to the roads sooner or later even they will get the message.
Hopefully it will not be too late because did I mention I now have two graduates in the house? And since this is my blog I am allowed to also brag that one of them is in Phi Beta Kappa and has a bright creative future ahead of himself and the other one received an Enhanced Chancellor Fellowship from CUNY (worth mucho dineros) to help her pursue her PhD in neuropsychology. She will not get rich but at least she will get to do what she wants without the usual money worries. (Why does America make it so hard to get a good education? That's another blog.)


train buddy said...

Yet another wonderful experience on your return trip home. Ever think of just going one way? It would surely cut out the aggrevation. As for conserving gas, I have decided to put my son to good use and he pushes my van around. It builds up his muscles that way. Hope graduation wasn't too weepy for you and that you had a great Memorial Day weekend. Hope to see you soon.

mug guy said...

You too, thanks - We'll talk.