Gas Prices and Thoughtlessness

I’m astonished at the number of people today who seem totally oblivious of their impact on everything around them. A friend of mine and I make frequent trips across the border into Buffalo to pick up some items that we just can’t acquire here in Canada. Today my friend coincided one of the meetings that he frequently needs to attend with our trip by holding it in a city that was on our way to Buffalo. I opted to wait outside in the parking lot and read. Even for a daylight-hater like myself this was a beautiful day, not too hot, with a nice breeze. A perfect summer day.

As I sat there in the parking lot of a Tim Horton’s, I was astonished at how few people recognize what they are paying for gasoline these days. The highway in front of the car was swamped with people who seemed to feel the need to put the gas pedal to the floor when pulling away from a light. I was completely unaware that red lights have an escape velocity of 65km/h.

Equally puzzling is the number of people who sit in an idling car. What is being achieved by this? Is there a perceived savings by not shutting the car off? Does this make achieving escape velocity any easier? I sat in the parking lot for not quite an hour and noted two drivers in that time who sat in an idling car while a passenger went in for coffee. This was a particularly busy Tim Horton’s so each run in for coffee was a minimum of ten minutes. Still a third driver shut off his car to acquire his Juice of the Mighty Bean but when he returned with snacks for the family he started the engine, rolled up the windows and sat consuming his tasty goods with the air conditioning running for 20 minutes on a 22°C day! Not only is the car sucking down gas, it’s doing it at least 50% faster because the air conditioning is running! With gasoline running around $1.30/litre how does that make sense at all?

As the owner of a large car with a V8 engine (which gets 26 to 30 miles per gallon thank-you-very-much) I’m very conscious about how much fuel my car consumes and what I have to pay for that fuel. I see my mileage gauge change when I go up a steep hill or have to sit through more than one red light in succession. It’s easy to make improvements in mileage by accelerating smoothly and maintaining an even speed around the speed limit. Whether or not I see any need to sit with the car idling is a complete no-brainer. Simply monitoring my driving habits is what allows me to get reasonable mileage out of my land yacht and maximize the time between trips to the pump. Seeing drivers pointlessly roaring down the road or sitting in an idling car with so little regard for the fuel that they are wasting really boggles my mind.

The fact that we as consumers can scream at the top of our lungs about gas prices but do nothing for ourselves to minimize the effects of high prices is astonishing. Are we truly such sheep that we’ll bleat but continue to follow blindly until someone points us in a new direction? I would hope not, but I’m having doubts now.

blogged from my Treo 680 using mo:blog

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