I used to be an over-the-road, long haul truck driver. For a while, I even owned and drove my own truck. As an owner-operator, I became interested in fuel economy, and very aware of how personal choices can affect fuel economy and fuel costs.

I’m off the road now, although I still travel a great deal, mainly by car. Like everyone else, I have listened to, and watched, news stories, discussions, and interviews on the present and future state of energy and energy sources.

As a business man and private citizen who travels extensively by car, both for business and pleasure, I am concerned about present costs and those which might be expected in the future.

Even more, however, I am becoming concerned about what might be my future, if I live long enough, and what will almost certainly be the energy future of my grandchildren, if not my children. As a result of these concerns, I have begun to think more about the changes that I and others can make to alleviate some of the coming ecological and economic problems related to fuel.

Because of my experiences past and present, I have some thoughts on the subjects of travel, the operation of vehicles, and the modern driver. I would like to make a couple of points, particularly as these subjects and fuel economy meet at the nexus of choice.

For years, I have watched drivers drive far in excess of the posted speeds or rational speeds for the conditions in which they found themselves. I have witnessed several situations in which the driver created or arrived at a dangerous situation as a result of this need for speed and I have had several opportunities to view the sad results of these choices. Many of these individuals will eventually either grow up or remove themselves from the gene pool. In the meantime, they will continue to drive in this manner, and many will drive this way into old age. I remember one long traffic jam in Utah that resulted from a driver’s attempt to find out what his new Porsche “could do”. In the words of another truck driver on the scene, “It could kill him. That’s what it could do.”

However, let’s just talk about speed from the viewpoint of fuel economy. I regularly see interviews with “the consumer” on TV. Often these people are bemoaning the money they have to spend on fuel. Daily, these people, or those just like them, blow down the road at high rates of speed when driving a few miles more slowly could result in appreciable real money savings, especially at today’s fuel prices. Many of these cars are hardly fuel efficient in the first place, and, when operating at such high speeds become super-gas-guzzlers! Many of these people also rush up to stop signs and stop lights, maintaining their speed or accelerating until the last minute before treading heavily on the brake. They seem to give no thought to the fact that accelerating to a place where you are going to have to stop is equivalent to throwing money out the window, not to mention simply wasting fuel and causing the next expensive brake job to arrive more quickly. For many, the simple act of looking at what is happening ahead of them and removing their foot from the accelerator before arriving at a point where they HAVE TO STOP could result in savings in fuel and money.