June 26th, 2008

So this is how Glenn Reynolds does it

Wifi in the car.

It’s an idea whose time has come—and not just to Instapundit, but to Chrysler.

Not for me. Between the radio, and the ipod that can be plugged into the radio, and the cell phone with the bluetooth, and then just plain driving, I’ve got my hands (or, rather, my head) full. Sometimes it’s even nice to enjoy the scenery.

And speaking of cars (we were speaking of cars, weren’t we?), if you want to save more gas—and who doesn’t these days—here are some tips. They’re mostly pretty standard fare, but I certainly haven’t been doing all of them, even though I remember some from the big bad days of the 70s oil crisis.

Empty out the trunk as much as possible to make the car less weighty (oh, another reason to go on a diet), change your air filter, get your engine tuned, inflate those tires, accelerate and brake more moderately, and a few others—including that old standby of the Carter years, drive more slowly on the highway. Since I’m chronically late for things, that’s one I seldom put into practice.

4 Responses to “So this is how Glenn Reynolds does it”

  1. njcommuter Says:

    Driving more slowly may help you individually but hurt everyone collectively. This is especially true on a four-lane divided highway with traffic lights every half-mile to a mile. (There are hundreds such in NJ; I’m thinking of Rte 33 west of Freehold to Hightstown.)

    When the traffic light turns green, the number of people who get through the light depend on how quickly each reacts to the opportunity to move, and how briskly each accelerates. If, at the end of the green period, some cars that were waiting for the light before it turned green are still there, you have a backlog of idling vehicles. It means that at no time during the green interval were any cars able to flow smoothly through without braking away the precious energy that they bought by burning fuel. In effect, every car is forced to stop and accelerate again, at great cost in fuel. Even a regen-braking hybrid will not completely solve the problem because the regen braking, battery storage, and re-use in the motor will lose at least 30% of the energy, and maybe 60%. You also have increased time operating air conditioning, windshield wipers, or headlights as well as ventilating fans, increased driver frustration, and a much increased risk of accident as the backlog stretches further into the oncoming traffic stream. How much energy does it take to tow a car, process a claim, and repair it? What volatiles are released by the repainting process? How about the manufacture of new parts and the recycling of old ones?

  2. dave.s. Says:

    truckers are making fewer side trips: http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/nevada-prostitutes-hurt-by-high-diesel-prices/

  3. camojack Says:

    I save a lot of gas by riding my Harley whenever it’s practical…

  4. Oldflyer Says:

    I believe the problem at traffic lights has to do with inattention. I try to anticipate light changes and accelerate moderately. Seems to work.

    I recently talked to a man who rides a Harley. He told me he gets about 43 miles per gallon. I was surprised; my daughter does that well with her VW Jetta diesel station wagon. Unfortunately, because of enviromental regs she also pays over $5/gal in California because they hate diesel.

    A recent visit to California convinced me that despite all the whining, Americans are making little or no personal effort to reduce their gas bills. They are still driving 70-75 on the freeways; still accelerating and braking with abandon; and of course absolutely refuse to carpool, whether to work or to soccer matches. Kids apparently cannot walk 1/2 mile to and from school on neighborhood streets. It is the same in Virginia, but folks here seem to whine a little less.

About Me

Previously a lifelong Democrat, born in New York and living in New England, surrounded by liberals on all sides, I've found myself slowly but surely leaving the fold and becoming that dread thing: a neocon.

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