When Hurricane Harvey was about to hit (and boy did it hit like a prize-fighter), newscasters were warning folks to get fuel now because there will be a fuel shortage due to Texas refineries shutting down. Of course, Texas is the energy capital of the country. They shut down as a precaution before the hurricane made landfall. And then, due to widespread flooding, more inland refineries stopped operations. As a result, more than a fifth of the nation’s refining capacity, including two of the country’s largest oil refineries was out of commission as oil companies battled flooding. So, in a panic, drivers were lined-up at gas stations, hoping to get a full tank (and filling gas cans) before the shortage. People were hoarding fuel and preparing for Armageddon. The following day, the news was reporting that people should NOT hoard fuel, as it is causing a fuel shortage…duh! Make up your MIND!

If this should happen in the future, perhaps it is best to know how to “conserve” fuel, rather than hoarding it. Here a few tips that may help…

• Check your tire pressure often (great time to check for nails and/or an ex-girlfriend’s nail file jammed in the grooves).
• Avoid idling (fact: bank robbers may be causing a fuel crisis)
• Keep your engine tuned regularly (keep it purring like a kitten…kittens eat less than a full grown cat)
• Check for extra junk in the trunk (d.i.v.o.r.c.e.)
• Be certain to use your manufacturer’s recommended grade of oil
• Keep it close to the speed limit on the highway. It will also save you from a ticket from Johnny Law.
• Try to coast to a stop. This will surely honk other people off (check…and double check).
• Avoid slowly crawling up to a speed. 15 seconds to accelerate to 50 mph uses less fuel than taking 30 seconds to reach the same speed (this will also save you from a stray bullet from the guy in the diesel truck behind you).
• Close the car windows and run the A/C. Conserving on A/C does not really help, especially at high speeds. Be comfortable on your journey…you cheapskate!

Some refer to these driving techniques as hypermiling. Most of these techniques improve your car’s fuel efficiency by reducing the demands placed on the engine. So, it’s possible to improve fuel economy by 37% just by changing the way your drive. But, there are also some hypermiling methods that are controversial and could pose an element of danger…such as riding in a big rig’s draft. Not cool, dude…your Honda Accord could become a Honda accordion!

Until next week… Cool it on the fuel.

Daun Thompson
Writer / Comedienne / Artist

Fuel Shortage