Two Hundred Fifty Miles to the Gallon

Really? Uh huh! My cousin Theresa and her husband are each driving a Chevy Volt. He has been driving one for over a year and already did a trade in on the first one, and he’s been ecstatic about the relatively little gasoline he uses every time he gets on the road. One day he used 2 gallons of gas and was upset about that. Theresa reported that one day her mileage was 250 per gallon due to the little actual gasoline her vehicle used that day although we had been out and about all day long. Pulling into their driveway there are his and hers electric cords that they have to plug into the cars upon arrival home.

Personally I have been hankering for a little car that Neil de Grasse Tyson talked about a few years back that is essentially a one person automobile. It drives itself, so all the pilot has to do is key in the destination address, bring a lunch, snacks, a book or two, crocheting project, a small overnight bag and the car would take me to my cousin, Theresa’s house, or, the grocery store, restaurant, and once the car is parked and if it is raining, it can be summoned to pick the driver up at the curb from under the protective awning.  Be still my heart. My mother had this kind of car, driven by my weathered father. My uncle Bob said I could walk to Texas before that car will be a reality. My friend Wendy said it exists, it is called Greyhound.

Yesterday as Wendy and I were cruising along highway 71 heading toward Cleveland from a ghost tour of the Mansfield Reformatory, we talked about many things and when I asked about the little graphic screen on her dashboard she explained that this was a chart about her car’s mileage. At one point she was getting fifty miles per gallon. Fifty miles per gallon! That in an age when the average car gets between 22 and 30 or so miles per gallon. She changed the graphic to one that showed that the wheels were charging the battery as the car rolled along – so there is no need to plug the car in. This dream car we were in is a hybrid called a Prius and I was hooked on the spot. It just got better and better. All the digital symbols indicating important information that most of us have to look down and through the steering wheel to see were in an inset above the dashboard area, requiring less than a blink to see. The temperature control, radio station selection, among other items that usually require the driver to look away from the road and fumble around on the dashboard to his/her right of the steering wheel are all accessible right on the steering wheel. Like the Volts, this car has no key operated ignition. It has a power button that only requires being pressed to start. But not just anyone can sit down and start the car – the car knows that she is carrying the key in her pocket and thus, she is the master driver of this fine machine.


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