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It's an expensive world out there, kids. Just stay home.

  • June 19, 2008
  • Commuting, Road Noise
  • Posted by
  • Comments Off on It's an expensive world out there, kids. Just stay home.


Hey, you know what I’m totally not sick of hearing about? High gas prices. Let’s talk about that.

So, I’m blogging from home today, because I’ve got a toothache. The dentist has me all hopped up on toothache-dulling goofballs, and I decided I’d rather stay home watching cartoons and thinking about how “spork” is a funny word when you say it over again (Try it!) than get out on the road while I’m all loopy and maybe kill someone.
I know what you’re asking: Don’t people with blogs just stay home all day in their pajamas eating Funyuns and feeling superior to others anyway? The answer is, only the really lucky ones. The rest of us have to own non-pajama clothing and eat Funyuns at an office.

Mmmm. Blog fuel.

My office is 52 miles from my house, which means I have plenty of time every day to contemplate the deeper truths in life — like whether the Flash could beat Max Mercury in a footrace on the moon (Answer: It’s a tie.) — and listen to NPR tell me how people are cutting back their driving to save money and reduce dependence on foreign oil.
That’s why I got this toothache – to save the world. Actually, given the amount I blow on gas every week, I couldn’t afford not to take a sick day today. Think about it: Stabbing dental pain or pay 25 bucks for enough gas to enjoy an hour of traffic going each way.
That last part was funnier in my head. I think the pills are wearing off.

Gas prices aren’t the only things affected by rising oil prices. At the oil change place down at the corner, the Ladies Day discount has dropped from $5 to $4. (Is chivalry utterly dead, I ask you?) It won’t be too long before everything at the grocery store – from the mashed potatoes that are all I can eat right now to the bourbon I was using to stave off the pain before the dentist got his hands on me – will cost more because it’s too expensive to truck the stuff in.
So anyway, I want to spend less on gas, because I don’t want to have to call in sick once a week because I can’t afford to go to work. (Note to my supervisors: This toothache is totally real, and you should not question my dedication to the job in any way.) I can’t afford a more fuel-efficient car. I can’t move or change jobs – I get dirt-cheap rent here, and I like my job too much to find one closer to home. Besides, this is Michigan. Where would I even find another job? (Answer: Texas.)
I looked into hypermiling, a system of driving techniques developed by a cadre of enthusiasts and skinflints that purports to increase fuel economy dramatically. While some of their ideas make good sense (slow down, keep your car in order, don’t haul a bunch of heavy stuff), they advocate some techniques (coasting, rolling stops, tailgating) that can be downright dangerous.
Besides, after looking at some of their websites, it’s become clear that hypermiling – like model railroading, Warhammer 40K and Linux use — is one of those things that takes over your life entirely once you’ve decided to give it a try. I mean, look at this chart:

Did that make sense to you? Congratulations, you are a crazy person, and you’re about to comment and tell me you can get 60 mpg out of your Civic.

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