My car isn’t very fancy at all…I don’t have a built in iPod connection or GPS system. Ditto DVD player or OnStar. And to add insult to injury, my automatic key fob thingy quit working yesterday. I had to actually unlock my car with the (gasp) key. Talk about old school.
But I do have an electronic display known as the Driver Information Center. This tells me when to change my oil. The date, time and temperature. (It even tells me that “Ice is possible” when it’s below freezing.) It also tells me how many miles I’ve gone since my last fill up and, more importantly, how many miles I still have left in the tank.
So every morning and afternoon I play a little game while making my 20+ mile commute. I see how many miles I can add. You see, if I drive slowly, without airconditioning, I can actually make the digital counter go up instead of down. On a good day, I can add 30 miles. I can leave the house with 250 miles to go and, by the time I get to work, have 280.
But to achieve this outcome, I must be that annoying person driving slowly in the right lane. I set my cruise control between 55 and 60. And every time a big ole SUV passes me doing about 80, I just wonder if they really don’t care how much it costs to fill that behemoth with gas.
Now I know that I’m really just playing some sort of delusional shell game here with the numbers. My gas tank isn’t some sort of primordial breeding ground where gas is continually created–sort of like the self-rejuvenating virgin that Florence King wrote about in Confessions of a Failed Southern Lady. Because somehow, the 30 miles I add on the way to work always dissipate by the time I get back in the car in the afternoon.
There are lots of things I’d rather spend my money on than gas. So for now, you’ll find me in the right lane. Doing my small part to reduce my carbon footprint. Honk if you see me.