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Old 07-10-2008, 11:04 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: Va Beach
Posts: 104

V-strom 650 - '07 Suzuki DL-650 V-strom
90 day: 55.03 mpg (US)

07 Focus ZXW - '07 Ford Focus ZXW SE
90 day: 30.09 mpg (US)
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Scanning the EM Garage... and reminiscing about the 74 gas crisis

Does anyone else do this? I find myself scanning up and down in the EM Garage regularly, looking at people's comment sections, noting how drivers of the same car get wildly different mileage... rumaging for idiosyncrasies of the database.

I'm slightly obsessed this way -- because of getting a new-to-me fuel miser car, discovering this site, stirring up the realities of growing up in the oh-so-wonderful 1970's, and fond memories of my dad... who helped us deal with it.

I got my driver's license and learned to drive in 1974 -- at the height of the "gas crisis." My dad would take me and my brother along on his work trips and get us to spot for the best gas prices, fill the tank when we refueled, and keep his log book: which meant learning to calculate mileage.

My dad showed us as he drove what to do and what not to do: coasting, gently accelerating, scanning ahead. As a chemical engineer, he was a big fan of conservation and environmental consciousness -- emphasizing how much less we stressed the world around us... and the car itself, by driving gently. He demystified a great deal of what was happening... it was all strangely satisfying.

He was not a fan of coasting with the transmission in neutral or with the engine off -- but, oddly, he was intrigued with drafting. Those were in the heady days of the CB radio, and he'd talk with the truckers and try to get permission to draft. Sometimes he succeeded.

For many years he drove a succession of VW Beetle's -- and we were excited when we got near 30 mpg. Seriously.

During the height of the crisis he had to make a trip from Va Beach, VA down to Bennettsville, SC to pick up my grandmother for Thanksgiving. He wasn't sure he could go that far on a tank, and he wasn't sure he'd be able to get gas en route... such was the situation. He added another gas tank under the front hood of his white-with-red-interior 1970 Beetle, locating the slender extra tank over the existing tank, with all the necessary plumbing and venting. He made the trip without having to refuel and I remember his annoyance with my grandmother's plumbing requirements.

I've had some pretty plush cars since then, but my current ride, a 1998 Metro, reminds me of those VW Beetles -- in its elemental quality -- though vastly safer if not current in safety features.

In the meantime, I've always kept track of my mileage.

My dad passed away three weeks before my wife and I got married, 22 years ago -- in 1986. He'd have been comfortable in the sobering light of $4.00 gasoline. He'd be dazzled with my 42.4 average mpg. And more than likely, he too would have rumaged through this site... and the EM garage.

Here's to you dad.

The 1970 VW Beetle, with its blazing 57hp:


Last edited by akcapeco; 07-11-2008 at 10:02 AM..
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