Dr. N.A.N.'s Blog

News, views, and how the world skews from San Antonio, Texas

Archive for driving

Driving in Neutral

stick shift

A former beau used to chide me for driving on “fumes”. For me, it was all about getting the maximum number of miles out of one tank of gas—you have to realize that in the early ‘80s, I was driving a 1976 (or so) four-door, light blue Peugeot 504 that looked pretty rugged.  It had a steering wheel on it the size of one of those exercise balls people roll around on. This was obviously before power steering. It was a four-on-the-floor with well over 85,000 miles behind it.

I actually learned about gas conservation back in the seventies when my father would drive me around town in our vintage 1970 Mercedes 280SE (yes, he still  has the care and it still runs!)

M-B 280SE 1970

At the time, we were living in Colorado Springs, in a neighborhood located on the side of a mountain. Thus, a good outing for him was to put the car in neutral after backing out of the driveway and letting the car coast down our street, slight pause at the stop sign and then left and down for several more blocks. He was especially pleased if he could make it out of our neighborhood and onto a major thoroughfare without ever putting the car in gear.

This driving strategy has stuck with me. If you drive with me in the city, you will notice that I have multiple sections of any route planned so that I may take advantage of the hills. I have it worked out so that I can throw the car into neutral and coast for at least several blocks on any given drive. I’m especially proud of my route home from the east or northeast side of town. Once I hit the top of 25th st., I pop the car in neutral and let her coast down to my alley. If the planets are aligned, I can turn right into the alley without stopping and continue coasting up to my garage door. I know that I should buy a lottery ticket when I can have the garage door open just in time to pull the car in. I don’t think anyone should have to pay more than $.60/gallon for gas…