Wednesday, February 9, 2022

How Low Can You Go?

I forgot to fill my gas tank before picking up Scarlet from her doctor's appointment.  The office is around the corner from my house.  She lives 11 miles away.  My gas gauge's range finder told me that I had 17 miles of fuel remaining.... about 1/2 a gallon.... and the car felt like it.

There wasn't much weight.  A full tank, 12 gallons, weighs a little over 101 pounds.  My half gallon barely registered.  The car was sluggish and grumpy.  Perhaps it was my imagination, but we were both unhappy with me.

As we approached her neighborhood, I had 8 miles left.  There were only 2 more to go before we reached her house, then 2 more back to the nearest gas station..... talk about running on fumes.... I was really pushing it.

Scarlet assured me that she was not uncomfortable and wouldn't mind stopping to fill up The UV.  It was Speedway gas on both corners; not my favorite brand but I was not in a position to quibble.  I put in 3 gallons, the gas gauge moved up comfortably, and we were on our way.

I never let it get below one-quarter, said my friend who bought her first car when she moved to Tucson 6 years ago.  That got me thinking about my relationship to my gas tank.

During the oil embargo and Jimmy Carter's presidency, when gas lines ran for miles and supply was never certain, I pulled into any gas station that had a short line.  If there was gas available, Annabelle (my Chevrolet Impala) had it. 

During the tumult after the towers fell, when terror seemed to be around every corner, half full was the least that made me comfortable.  If I had to evacuate (to where? from what?) I would be prepared.  

I never leave for a trip without a full tank of gas, refilling every time I take a rest stop.  I'm content to let the little white line grow perilously close to the left, when the gas pump icon appears on the dashboard, because I am rarely more than a block or two away from a fill up.  

But 8 miles left before the engine sputters and dies?  That, my friends, was a bit too close for comfort.

1 comment:

  1. I made a new set of rules right after Hurricane Katrina when I saw all those people having to flee their homes. Always have a full tank of gas (so I only let it go a bit below 3/4 tank), cash (I try to keep around $100 in small bills), and passports (I've renewed ours 2x now even though we aren't going anywhere). You just never know when you will have to flee.


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