Thursday, March 10, 2011

"No-gas" Facebook pledge misses the point

Dear everyone participating in this "no gas" day where you just don't buy gas for one day,

The pledged idea is to stick it to big oil. If that's the case, why hit locally run gas stations with razor-thin margins to begin with? Just use less gas regularly. Walk to the store. Bike to the store. Combine errands. Move closer to work. Look up 5 seconds earlier to notice that red light and coast to conserve momentum. Accelerate gently. Never floor it. Keep your tire pressure up. Go the speed limit on the highway. Buy a smaller or hybrid vehicle. These are the real ways to use less gas.

Can't figure out why gas prices are going up so much? Well, sure, supply concerns. But it's the demand[, stupid]! Your average American passenger vehicle got 22.4 mpg in 2009. You are the demand. We are the demand (even Prius owners!). From the Department of Energy: "About 17% of our imports of crude oil and petroleum products come from the Persian Gulf countries of Bahrain, Iraq, Kuwait, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and United Arab Emirates." From Saudi Arabia by itself comes a measly 10.4% of our imports. Go out and do what I said above and you'll get 10.4% better mileage easily. Can't do 10%? That's going from 22.4 American mpg average to 24.7 mpg.

As soon as you do that we don't need Saudi Arabia.

The entire Middle Eastern OPEC consortium is 17% as stated above. Can you get 26.2 mpg? You've easily wiped out our dependence on the Middle East.

Oh, and Iraq. You know, this place:

We get something like 3.7% of our imports from them. Can you get 23 mpg instead of 22 mpg? Is using all the fuel you want really worth that? Can't you just ease up on the accelerator?

Instead of being "mad as hell" and being "tired of watching the big oil companies laugh all the way to the bank while we all suffer!" think about what sort of suffering each one of us directly contributes to everytime we try to race some idiot that cut us off. This nonsensical "no gas" day is wildly misguided, however well intentioned. Let us use high gas prices as a moment to look in the mirror, not to deflect the blame that is squarely ours.


  1. I agree and my 1996 Toyota Camry couldn't agree more either! Sometimes I can get just slightly over 30MPG in that little 4 cylinder wonder!

  2. Dear Mike with a Prius,

    Good call! What I also find funny about the "No-Gas Day" campaign is that, unless you fill up your vehicle at least once a day, most people are inadvertently participating in the campaign about 80% of the week. For instance, I am inadvertently participating in the campaign today, tomorrow, and hopefully the next few days as well, simply because I do not have to fill up my tank. This observation stuck me as humorous, and I think it just goes to show that only long-term changes in habit can really make any long-lasting impact on the environment and our oil addiction, as you say.

  3. Andy, that's awesome! Thirty mpg is great for the car, easily 20% over average Camry mileage, especially from the older models. Those driving habits make all the difference in the world, literally.

    Jason, yes, I am actually a big fan of no-gas day, I didn't realize. Having last filled up on March 1, I'm planning to stop for gas on March 15 with the "cheap" Massachusetts gas :-)