Pain at the pump: Top off that tank, kiss gas (and money) goodbye

In America a half-century ago, transportation ate up approximately 10 percent of household income. Those days and times are gone for good, but, then again …

At any rate, according to renowned architect, a founding member of Congress for the New Urbanism and book author Peter Calthorpe in “The New Transit Town: Best Practices in Transit-Oriented Development” in the “Foreword” declared, in effect, that across the U.S., on average, roughly half of every income dollar after taxes is eaten up by housing and transportation – 32 cents for housing and 19 cents for transportation. Moreover, Calthorpe stressed, housing and transportation combined, consumes up to 60 percent of the dollar for lower-income households, after taxes, that is.1

Meanwhile, vehicle purchase, maintenance, fuel, insurance, parking and whatever other transportation-related costs there are, they all add up. So understanding this, any means to try to save where one is able to makes sense.

In driving cars outfitted with internal combustion engines, a condition of which is that gasoline must be bought, think about what’s involved each time a gas station visit is made. Does the car’s gas tank get filled up? And, if so, does the tank get filled to the brim?

In case one is inclined to think this is no big deal, check this out.

A letter writer to The Fresno Bee shares some insightful words.

“In all cases, when a contemporary fuel nozzle used on a contemporary automobile in proper repair shuts off, the tank is full and there is no room for additional fuel,” letter writer Stephen A. Montgomery of Bakersfield wrote.

“The only result they gain is limiting the function of their emissions controls, spilled fuel and general waste, to say nothing about the waste of time, including the time of customers waiting their turn.”

The Fresno Bee columnist Bill McEwen, on May 11, 2008 conveyed in print even more insight.

“On hot days, park in the shade when possible, reducing fuel evaporation and ozone-forming emissions.”

Every little bit helps.


  1. Peter Calthorpe, in “Foreword,” in “The New Transit Town: Best Practices In Transit-Oriented Development,” Hank Dittmar and Gloria Ohland editors, 2004, p. xiii

Published by Alan Kandel