March 13, 2022

WELCOME BACK CARTER! Drive Slow for America. The key to coping with “Putin’s price hike” is better driving habits.

We love speed.

But as the geopolitical situation deteriorates in Eastern Europe, perhaps we might consider again the righteousness of driving at more reasonable speeds—if only to weather the “Putin price hike,” as the Biden administration has branded the inevitable spiking of gas prices already in progress, and support our national resolve to ban oil and gas imports from Russia. Because in the coming months and maybe even years, slowing down will save you money—potentially, depending on the car you drive and how much you drive it, lots and lots of money.

According to a 2013 study by Oak Ridge National Laboratory, which evaluated for speed and efficiency 74 vehicles as disparate as diesel Volkswagens, hybrid Ford Fusions, and the gas-powered Mercury Grand Marquis, a typical U.S.-made car achieves maximum fuel efficiency at a steady speed of 40 to 50 mph. After that, explains John Thomas, the now-retired lead investigator on the study, “the rule of thumb is that you lose about 15 percent gas mileage for every 10 miles per hour you accelerate.” On the open road, where drivers maintain steady speeds of 50 to 80 mph, reducing speed by 10 mph can save 75 cents a gallon on a five-dollar gallon of gas—or 90 cents a gallon on a six-dollar gallon of gas, already the price where I live, in the San Fernando Valley area of Los Angeles.

This varies a lot by the make and model of your car, whether you have a headwind or a tailwind or crosswinds, and countless other variables. But basically, Thomas says, “peak fuel economy is the lowest speed you can go in the highest gear.” It’s where your revolutions-per-minute dial hovers in the lower third, where you can hear your engine purring, but never hear it rev. “It’s actually a little bit nonlinear,” Thomas says. “Efficiency gets worse as you keep going faster.”

—The Atlantic, yesterday.

As Glenn writes in the New York Post: Don’t pretend that high prices and American suffering are a ‘bug’ for the establishment — it’s a historic feature.

And Jeffrey Goldberg’s Atlantic is happy to do their part as Democratic Party operatives with bylines to nudge Americans along whatever path President Klain thinks is best.

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