Maintaining proper gas mileage is important

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, August 5, 2003

Alabama coast for a meeting.

As Greg piled my suitcases into the trunk, I walked to the car’s side.

The windows were rolled down. The sunroof was back.

I was in trouble.

&uot;Do you think it’s possible we could roll up the windows and turn on the air conditioner?&uot; I asked as I dabbed the trickles of sweat off my forehead.

He mumbled something about fresh air and how it wasn’t that hot. But he and I both knew the real reason for the back to nature bursts of fresh air: gas mileage.

It seems that Greg, like more than a couple other men I know, is consumed with maintaining certain levels of gas mileage.

&uot;Thirty-three miles per gallon,&uot; he will be quick to tell anyone who will listen. &uot;It’s less if Leada is in the car though. Air conditioning will just suck the gas right out.&uot;

Greg studies his gas mileage. He keeps up with it, talks about it, debates its every whim.

It baffles him that I do not know the gas mileage I get in my own car.

&uot;I don’t have a clue,&uot; I told him as he looked at me as if I was from a different planet. &uot;When it’s empty, I go fill it up. But I’m not going to sit in a puddle of sweat just to save 50 cents.&uot;

What really amazes him is my penchant for putting the convertible top down on me car and still running the air conditioner.

&uot;You can run the air conditioner on your feet and you stay nice and cool,&uot; I told him.

He just shook his head.

We made it to about Birmingham last week with the windows down and the sunroof back. By this point, my hair had wilted, my makeup was running all over my face and I was miserable.

&uot;Here,&uot; I said, opening my wallet and digging around for 50 cents. &uot;Can we please turn on the air conditioner?&uot;

He obliged. I suspect, however, it had more to do with Birmingham smog than my heat stroke. From Birmingham to Gulf Shores, I rode in cool, air-conditioned air.

We finally arrived at the beach – hot, tired and ready to see the sand. We also had some time to spend with Greg’s brother, who had brought his family to the shore in a minivan.

&uot;What kind of gas mileage do you get on that thing?&uot; Greg asked.

&uot;With or without the air conditioner on?&uot; his brother asked. They both just nodded, glanced over at me, and kept talking.

Leada DeVaney is the publisher of the Hartselle Enquirer and the Madison County Record. She is the former managing editor of the Shelby County Reporter