Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Got Gas?

The IRS says gasoline is a bargain. Therefore, it rules, starting in January, reimbursement will fall from its present 48.5 cents a mile for business travel will fall by four cents to 44.5 cents a mile.

Where are these guys filling up? And more to the point, what are they doing with the ethanol component of what they’re filling up with?

We understand that adding ethanol to the gasoline helps reduce pollution and boosts octane. But you’re not supposed to drink the stuff.

The usual blend is nine parts gasoline to one part ethanol, ten percent or five proof. You have to chug a lot of gasoline to get a buzz, and chances are, it’ll kill you before you get high.

Plus it tastes lousy, even if you add Pepsi or 7 UP and a few ice cubes.

Maybe it’s the fumes. Yeah, that’s it. They’re breathing in the fumes and getting an indirect hit.

Do these guys actually BUY gasoline? If so, they must know that their “bargain” is, like, fake?

Sure, $2.40 is a better price than $3.40. But this is no bargain. And despite what the oil companies and their Amen Chorus in congress and the White House (to paraphrase Patrick Buchanan,) say, the price is going to rise again. And grow. Like Topsy. Like Mickey’s Broom in “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice.”

Be assured, they won’t be so quick to put that four cents back in your pocket when the price goes up.

Meantime, there are some things we can do to keep reduce our energy use on the road. Don’t floor it. Don’t stomp on the brakes and get low wattage light bulbs when the ones you have now burn out or you hit a pole or a guard rail and have to replace them.

In fact, one of the best things you can do to reduce your use of gasoline is to hit a pole or a guard rail. While the car’s in the body shop, your mileage will be sharply reduced. But you don’t HAVE to tell the IRS unless they ask.

Of course, like anything else, there’s a trade off here. You have to be without your car and maybe suffer a concussion or a broken bone or two. But your managed care health insurance will cover the cost of that. And think of all those pretty hospital nurses and sympathetic doctors you’d never meet unless you took this big step toward fuel economy.

Here’s a safer tip for fuel economy: the new hybrid cars. No, not the ones that use batteries along with the gasoline engine. The ones that use wind power.

They look funny with those big fans on the roof. But on a good day, you can get from “here” to “there” and back with almost no gasoline use. One manufacturer is even thinking of adding a mast and sail to its lineup.

Awkward. But cheap.

I'm Wes Richards. My opinions are my own, but you're welcome to them.™

©wjr 2005

1 comment:

John G said...

Some day, gravity cars that go through the air. And a computerized control system to keep them from colliding with one another or anything else.

Meanwhile we're getting gas just thinking about what we've got.