June 14th, 2008

krazy koati

Then I'll trade all my Green Stamps

I haven't talked much about my car because it hasn't been doing anything exceptional for a happily long while. I would not have expected it last year anytime before November, but it's now given me over half a year of service without requiring any more serious care than the changing of oil, for which you can't blame it what with someone sneaking in at night to put the wrong oil in there. The air conditioning doesn't work, and that's an inconvenience particularly when we have a streak above 90 Fahrenheit, but I knew that I didn't really have to drive very far -- if at all -- for that stretch and anyway with the windows open the ride isn't too bad, at the cost of some fuel economy lost to stirring up the breeze in my car and minor loss to hearing whatever my book on generalized tape is because I have to turn the volume up.

About the biggest news from it has been that when gas strode briskly above $3.50 per gallon I switched from giving it the higher-octane premium -- my reasoning being that the car is old and balky enough it needs all the help it can get -- back to regular -- my reasoning being the difference is almost certainly not noticeable -- and that when the satellite TV guy came in to install HDTV and the new High Definition Tivo he mentioned my car sounded like one cylinder wasn't firing. I haven't had the chance to do anything about that, but it seemed consistent with a minor drop in fuel economy. But the car has also been driven on shorter trips lately, with much more stop-and-start, and that can be expected to trim off a few miles per gallon. When I could do mostly highway driving -- and during the winter, with windows up -- I could hit 23 miles per gallon; lately, it's been hovering around 20.

You'll understand then my bafflement today to discover that the 121.3 miles travelled since I last filled up, with no particular change in driving habits and windows way open, required 5.010 gallons. While I'm glad to see the best economy I've ever recorded on the thing, I feel like it's buttering me up for a nasty surprise soon.

Trivia: For the first nonstop trans-Atlantic airplane flight, started 14 June 1919, John Alcock and Arthur Whitten-Brown carried with them a mailbag holding three hundred private letters as well as ``Twinkletoes'' and ``Lucky Jim'', a pair of stuffed black cats as mascots. Source: Famous First Flights That Changed History, Lowell Thomas, Lowell Thomas Jr.

Currently Reading: Challenge To Apollo: The Soviet Union and the Space Race, 1945 - 1974, Asif A Siddiqi.