Joe Pisani (opinion): Fuel for thought to save money on gas

This artwork by M. Ryder refers to increasing gas prices.

This artwork by M. Ryder refers to increasing gas prices.

M. Ryder

Sir Isaac Newton, the famous physicist, mathematician, astronomer and philosopher, who invented Fig Newtons and gravity, often said, “What goes up must come down.”

He knew a lot about a lot of things, but he knew nothing about gas prices. With gas prices, what goes up keeps going up and may come down a bit before going back up ... and who knows where else.

No matter what Joe Biden, Joe Rogan and Morning Joe say, gas prices are pummeling everybody except our politicians, who can expense their mileage, and celebrities, who can afford to cruise around Beverly Hills in their Rolls-Royce Phantoms, while cackling about the need for conservation.

The rest of us schlemiels are out of luck.

Actually, you’re in luck because I’ve developed a strategy to save gas. It began with my personal campaign to drive 25 mph and be a power of example for my fellow motorists, especially the ones in very large pickup trucks and the scary ones hiding behind tinted windows, who weave in and out of traffic on the Merritt.

Rather than wait for the president, Congress, oil companies and Hollywood to deal with the crisis, I compiled practical suggestions to help the working person, now that gas has become more expensive than Johnnie Walker Black.

First: Drive slower, much slower, so much slower that people swear at you. When you hear them cursing and tooting their horns, you’ll know you’re getting great mileage. You may be hated on the highways, but Joe Biden will give you and Leonardo DiCaprio the Presidential Medal of Freedom, along with a $50 gift card to Sunoco.

What I find terribly disturbing is that during this troubled time in our nation’s history, Americans seem to be driving faster. Don’t they realize there’s a correlation between speed and gas consumption? These are probably the same people who crank up their thermostats to 75 in February and push their air-conditioning down to 65 in August. Which brings me to my second point.

Turn off your car air-conditioner and open the windows to cool down. When auto manufacturers start making cars again in five years, they should bring back vent windows so we can have the fresh air blow on our sweaty bodies. Trust me, vent windows are better than climate control. Generations of humans going back thousands of years to the age of dinosaurs didn’t have air conditioning ... or underarm deodorant. Did you hear anybody complain? Of course not. They were too busy trying to stay alive, just like us.

(To show America that politicians are willing to suffer with ordinary people, I urge the president to turn off the air-conditioning in the White House and the Capitol. Then, they could lead by example for a change.)

Third: I’m calling on all Americans to take their foot off the accelerator ... and coast. Uphill if necessary. In fact, if you coast down the same hill more than once, you’ll get great mileage. It goes without saying, avoid driving up hills even if you have to go 10 miles out of your way.

When you see a stop sign or stop light coming up, take your foot off the gas and coast. Coasting conserves gas and gives you an opportunity to smell the roses, along with the diesel fumes.

Since I started my gas conservation program, I’ve been averaging 60 mpg in my wife’s Prius, which drops to 48 mpg when she takes the wheel. (This is not fake news.) She insists I’m disrupting the flow of traffic and a menace to other motorists. To my thinking, she drives like the Little Old Lady from Pasadena ... there’s nobody meaner.

She also claims I’m contributing to the supply chain problems by forcing 18-wheelers to slow down, which makes me responsible for the toilet paper shortage, the tampon shortage and the baby formula shortage. So don’t be surprised if you hear Joe Biden blame me for the supply chain crisis at his next news conference.

Here’s another tip. I get great mileage because instead of keeping my eyes on the road, I keep my eyes on the ECO fuel gauge on my dashboard, which tells me how many miles per gallon I’m getting. It’s an obsession.

Many motorists try to save gas by running red lights, which I don’t advise because it’s life-threatening and illegal. Countless times I’ve been at the intersection, and after my light turns green, three cars run the red light.

Our legislators should install speed cameras on stop lights to ticket offenders and give that cash to us law-abiding citizens, who can’t afford to fill our tanks.

Drastic times call for drastic measures. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said that. Actually, it was the Greek physician Hippocrates, who also offered great advice for our age when he said, “Walking is the best medicine.”

(The fact-checkers caught me. Contrary to popular belief, Sir Isaac Newton did not invent Fig Newtons. He invented Twinkies.)

Former Stamford Advocate and Greenwich Time Editor Joe Pisani can be reached at joefpisani@yahoo.com.