Monday, June 16, 2008

Peeling Numbers at "On the Run"

Well, I actually did something that I hadn’t done since the last “gas crisis” back in the late 70’s.

Something so wrong and calculating, Something that that reeks of “un-fuzzy” math. Something that shocked the
hell out of me.

Peeling off those magnetic numerals on the top of the pump you ask? And reveal an old rusted “number 1”.

Well, yes, guilty as charged.
I just had to see gas at 1.35 again,
at least once before I die.

But no, that’s not it.

No, what I did was so 70’s and so “accountant-like”. Just pushing those beans and hearing them “ting” at the bottom of a big metal pot, and accept the fact that nothing’s going to change.
At least not for a while.

What I did was the old “gallons at the pump and write down your mileage on a piece of paper” thing.

And you know what? I was actually quite surprised to find out the results from our trip down to Kensington from the Catskills.
The fill-up at the “On the Run” on Fort Hamilton Parkway revealed a quite surprising 23 miles per gallon for our 2005 Nissan “Quest for more gas" minivan.

So I re-filled the tank to start my calculations on the “Brooklyn” driving my poor wife has to do everyday to Bay Ridge. 23 on the highway, hmm, how bad can it be in Brooklyn, 17, 18,
maybe 16 the worst.

Well my wife has always been a naysayer when it comes to that stupid van, she swears that it gets nothing better than 12 miles per gallon on the streets of Brooklyn.

Me on the other hand, well, I know everything you know. Especially when it comes to cars. I kept telling my wife that maybe a 400-horse power Hemi gets 12 in the city, but never a 6 cylinder mini van.

"No, you’ll see 12 miles per gallon at the best".

Well, after a week of driving back and forth to Bay Ridge, it was time to fill up the van with some “speculator driven” 4.33 regular.
I wrote down the mileage on a piece of paper, 148 miles. OK sounds about right, then I started to fill up the tank. After the 10th gallon was in, I started to feel sick. No, this can’t be right, there must be a hole somewhere under the van, this is IMPOSSIBLE!

The pump stopped at 13.2 gallons, and I felt like throwing up.
148 divided by 13.2? Ah, umm, duh….
11.21 miles per gallon in Brooklyn?
Yes, 11.21 miles per gallon in Brooklyn.
Read it and weep sucker.

So I told my wife she was right and then tried to make a case for the “great” highway mileage the vans gets. It was all very fruitless,
let me tell you.

I once again did the calculations on buying a new smaller car. The down payment, the monthly payments, the 20,000 dollars that I would have to spend. And it all comes out to more money from the family budget no matter how you slice it. The van has been paid off for almost a year now, so there’s not much you can do.
Something like 20,000 miles a year for 10 years to break even.
It all just sucks so much.

So, I’m back to peeling off the number “four” at the “On the Run” again. Revealing the sweet rusted number “one” that I loved so much only a few years ago. Just living in a make believe world of “miles per gallon” and dreaming once again it was 2005.

Ron Lopez
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