The Practical Radical

Addiction leads to decades long hangover … | May 28, 2010

I am getting quite nauseous knowing our addiction to the black liquor is destroying the environment and economy of the gulf coast states. What makes it worse is that I feel I am watching the disaster in slow motion, with oil slowly and inexorably making its way onshore, while we watch grainy low definition movies of the mile deep oil well  belching out its black death.

So, as we can’t seem to do much but watch, what better time to reflect on some of the myths we hold regarding our addiction to gas as it relates to our cars.  The following are six gas mileage myths (stop doing them and nagging your husband/wife about them) and some solutions (that if 100,000,000 of us started doing something would change).

Remember what Margaret Mead says – “A small group of thoughtful people could change the world. Indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.” (yeah, I’m not believing that much right now either .. )


  • It takes more fuel to start a vehicle than it does to let it idle.
    Idling uses a quarter to a half-gallon of fuel in an hour, costing you one to two cents a minute. So, turn off the car when stopped for more than a few minutes.
  • Vehicles need to be warmed up before they’re driven.
    Maybe true back in the old days, no longer.
  • Old cars have bad fuel economy.
    A well-maintained car will have like-new mileage.
  • A clean airfilter makes a car run more efficiently.
    If you have a car from the 70s, maybe. Now, no.
  • That expensive additive s%^t you put in your gas helps.
    Probably not, you might feel better, but no. Both the Federal Trade Commission and Consumer Reports have weighed in on this. There are no top-secret 100-mpg add-ons out there.
  • Using premium fuel improves fuel economy.
    Nope. Use only if filthy rich.

and this one is for Lee-Anne as we disagree on this all the time …

  • Having your windows down while having the air conditioning effects gas mileage.
    NONONONONONO. Two studies by Consumer Report and some group called  just say no, nothing really even measurable. (I win, the windows are staying down air-conditioned jacked).
So, some things you can do …
  • inflate your tires
  • don’t leave tons of s$%t in your car, especially bags of sand, bricks, cement, large mammals, etc.
  • use cruise control – it works
  • and, drive the speed limit

Thanks to,, consumer report, and my personal angst for making this happen. Have a nice day.


  1. Gas is only a small part of the problem, it isn’t just our addiction to cars that has us here. The keyboard you typed this on is plastic = petrochemicals. The road you drive on is asphalt..same thing. I challenge you to look around the room you are in and find the few things that were not made by, transported by, based on or somehow involved petrochemicals to get them into your room. The number of things you will find is zero. We all have a hand in this spill.

    Even your sign carrying protesters in the picture….the sign has paint on it and is likely made of plastic – as are the protective suits they are wearing….see where I am going with this?

    Comment by Joe — May 28, 2010 @ 8:31 am

  2. Yup. Which suggests we have to move fairly quickly to replace and or get rid of those things, no? We do have a few years to do so before we run out of oil, and as we move forward oil will become more expensive making it easier to switch to an alternative.

    This post doesn’t deal with it, but the other issue is about the risk in getting this oil. It ain’t getting any easier, and if we drilling a mile down perhaps that isn’t a good idea. There is a reason that God/Allah/you pick, made it so we would be squished to a pancake if we go to that depth.

    Comment by practicalradical — May 28, 2010 @ 2:04 pm

  3. We definitely need to move away from oil, there are alternatives out there for a lot of what needs to be chaged, but they are expensive and as we know economics is a powerful force.

    As far as it being a mile deep….you logic also suggests that we should not cure disease…after all god put viruses here to kill us, so we should let them. Can’t agree with the logic on this one, other wise we would be living in caves eating cold squirrel.

    Comment by Joe — May 31, 2010 @ 9:18 am

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