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Fifteen Ways to Save on Fuel, While Being a General Nuisance and Road Menace.

Rochelle Frank wrote humorous bits for her college newspaper many years ago. Her funny observations have continued in print and online.

Have Your Grain of Salt Shaker Handy

This article has been specifically and carefully headlined to warn people that the advice put forth here is NOT to be taken seriously.

Please read this specific and careful DISCLAIMER :

"Do NOT take this advice seriously. Doing so could result in severe side effects, like severe injury or even severe death."

People who are desperately looking for ways to increase car mileage and save on gasoline may want to consider the following suggestions. (Then again, maybe not.)

Helpful Illustration

Light pressure on the gas pedal conserves fuel and keeps the cupcake from being squashed. Leaving shoes at home saves weight.  The cupcake actually should be between the pedal and the foot, but the foot model protested.

Light pressure on the gas pedal conserves fuel and keeps the cupcake from being squashed. Leaving shoes at home saves weight. The cupcake actually should be between the pedal and the foot, but the foot model protested.

Starting Up and Starting Out

  • If you can, always park your vehicle atop a hill or on a ski ramp, so you can get the car rolling without using any gas at all. Avoid any catapult device unless you are very skilled and traffic is light
  • Don't waste gas by revving your engine when you start, or by stomping down on the pedal. Your gas pedal should barely notice you are adding foot pressure to it. Place two or three grapes or a generously frosted cupcake between your foot and the pedal to moderate pressure. This means you will start out at less than walking speed and gradually increase to 10 mph in the first several minutes while slowly bringing the rate up. If the grapes break, or frosting squishes out, you are pushing too hard.
  • An alternative to the above suggestion is to follow your 106 year-old neighbor to the store. He uses the grapes.
  • Avoid stop-and-go driving. Once you get rolling you want momentum to do most of the work. Use brakes only in life-threatening conditions.
Pass  gas altogether by riding your bike

Pass gas altogether by riding your bike

Fueling Up

  • Fill your tank only about half full. This has three advantages. The first is weight reduction. A gallon of fuel weighs about eight pounds. The second advantage is that it will delude you into thinking that you are not paying as much, even if you fuel up twice as often. The third is you will occasionally run out of gas and need to get someone to push you to the station. This can save a lot; your car uses no fuel when being pushed.
  • Refuel when it is cold, like in the wee hours of the morning, the dead of winter or in Nome, Alaska. Some people think that liquid fuel is more condensed when it is cold because the molecules huddle closer together to keep warm. This is a hoax, because underground fuel tanks are always cool. The only way to condense gasoline is to squeeze the nozzle tip firmly as you are dispensing it. (Don't let other people see you doing this, and don't let them know where you heard this.)
  • Shop at stores that offer a discount on your gas purchases for every $100 you spend with them. By spending far more than you really need to at their store, you could save from three to ten cents a gallon on your fill up. This often results in saving over an entire dollar on a tankful that costs you $68.94. This is a savings of almost .4 %.


If some of these suggestions sound specifically stupid, it is because . . . they are.

Please go back and read the first disclaimer if you are not sure.

Air and Aerodynamics

  • Check the direction of the wind. Drive with the wind pushing you and not into it. Using a sail is not recommended, as it is very distracting and can work against you in a tornado.
  • Roll windows down to avoid using the air conditioner, but keep them up to reduce drag. You might want to keep them up on one side and down on the other if you are unsure.
  • Drive at higher altitudes whenever possible. The air is less dense up in the mountains and on the high plains. Cutting through thinner air results in less air resistance than driving at sea level. Don't drive through water or underwater at any altitude, this just wrenches everything up badly.
  • Avoid high speed car chases. At slower speeds air resistance is not so significant, but above 60 mph your engine has to work harder and burn more fuel to push through the atmosphere. If you are being chased, you might want to consider a cloaking or levitation device rather than fuel-wasting high speeds.

Watch Your Weight

Don't carry barbells, bowling balls or anvils in your trunk.

Don't carry barbells, bowling balls or anvils in your trunk.

  • Lighten the load in your car. Carrying around a lot of unnecessary junk and extra passengers in your vehicle makes the engine work harder and causes it to gulp more gas.
  • Do not store barbells, extra bowling balls or anvils in your trunk.
  • Reduce the weight of your vehicle by completely emptying the trunk. You never use those tools anyway. Carry a roadside service number or one of those GPS help messengers, with you if you need mechanical assistance - and ask them to bring a spare tire and jack, because you have removed yours.
  • Also take out the floor mats, radio, back seats, passenger seat, any passengers, tissue box, old burger wrappers and anything else you can. If your mother-in-law needs a ride to the dentist she will have to find some other way.

Third Disclaimer: If you have read this far, I hope you are NOT taking notes. If you ARE taking notes tear them up now and re-read the above two disclaimers.

General Suggestions

  • Travel at a low steady rate of speed. This will greatly annoy the drivers in back of you, and disrupt traffic flow. But heck, you are saving them gas as well. Keep calm, so you don't inadvertently depress your gas pedal excessively when other drivers become annoyed with you.
  • Pick the shortest route to your destination. If it is across your neighbors property, a secured nuclear facility or restricted military installation, proceed with extreme caution and stealth.
  • Coast. Pick downhill routes for ALL of your destinations. The less you actually step on the gas pedal, the more gas you will save. This tip is most beneficial if you also pick downhill routes for your return trip. (Think about it.)

Finally-- Drive. Park. Walk.

Don't waste gas by looking for a closer space in a parking area. In fact, what you really should do is stop and park at least 440 yards from any final destination, and walk the rest of the way to work, the store, or emergency room of the hospital . . . wherever you happen to be going.

Of course, you will also walk back, (unless you are in a body cast from visiting the emergency room). If you have merely been shopping and bought a lot of stuff at a store, hopefully you can get one of those helpful assistants to help push your cart back to your parking spot. If you can get them to push with you in the cart, even better.

Since there are 1760 yards in a mile, it means you will be driving one half mile less for each trip. Fewer miles means less gas used. If you do this three times a week you will cut 78 miles off your total yearly distance and increase your cardio-vascular stamina.

If you do it every day for work, you will be late occasionally, but may save over 120 miles a year which could add up 20 or 25 dollars in gas savings which will come in handy when you have lost your job for being late.

You will also save by not having to drive to a job.

Please feel free to add your suggestions in the comment section.

© 2011 Rochelle Frank