Nettie's husband might save on gas but will make everyone around him sick.

Dear Car Talk

Dear Car Talk | Sep 01, 1992

Dear Tom and Ray:

My husband continually drives the car by putting pressure on the gas pedal, then releasing and letting the car coast until it slows down a bit...then more pressure and so on. Needless to say, this is very uncomfortable for the passenger, as well as the cars behind him. I maintain it is also unsafe. He insists that he saves on gas that way. What is your opinion of this practice? If you say it's OK, I'll settle for that.

TOM: Well, Nettie, your husband may be right about saving gas this way. In fact, when they have those "high mileage contests" (you know, with cars that get 7,942.03 miles per gallon) this is the way they drive. And they do it because the car uses less fuel when it's coasting.

RAY: But mileage isn't the only issue. Like you say, Nettie, there are other concerns, like safety. For instance, you could annoy the driver behind you so much, that you could become the victim of a drive-by shooting.

TOM: And besides, studies have shown that it's difficult to maintain control of the vehicle if one or more of the passengers is puking. I mean, really! What is this guy thinking?

RAY: But even if he's not interested in your comfort and safety, he does seem to be interested in saving money. In which case, he ought to know that the tiny amount of money he's saving on gas will be more than eaten up by the wear and tear he's putting on the car.

TOM: That's right. Every time he slows down and then speeds up, he's relaxing and then tightening every piece in the drive train; the transmission, the drive shaft, or constant velocity joints, etc. And sooner or later (sooner, in his case) those parts are going to start to wear out, and that's going to cost him REAL money. So it's a very short sighted way to drive.

RAY: So tell your husband to cut this out, Nettie. He'll not only save money on repairs in the long run, but he'll instantly cut down on your monthly Dramamine bill.

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