"Beauty confronts us with the requirement that we place ourselves among...the redeemers, the leaders in the protection of life. Once you have seen the bush on fire, you are not going to get out of the assignment unless you close your eyes to the beauty.... [You] either have to close your eyes or go back to Egypt and set the people free." - Rev. Dr. Rebecca Parker, "Rising to the Challenge of Our Times"

Friday, July 25, 2008

Zen and the science of fuel economy

Been hearing all about the benefits of driving 60 mph for some time now, and just (coincidentally) spent about $60 filling my tank, so decided to try it on the way down to this training in Los Gatos. My truck doesn't have cruise control so it requires me to pay attention. Sometimes it felt like I was moving backwards but mostly I noticed how much calmer I felt. I got behind a Prius driving 55 at one point, and thought about driving alongside it but people are probably already disturbed enough by anyone driving below the speed limit that it would be counterproductive to aggravate them by slowing down two out of the four lanes on that stretch of the 680.

I'm going to try to do it for the whole tank (which means at least until Sunday) to see what the difference is. I think I got about 25 - 26 MPG on the last tank. They said on NPR this morning that for every mile per hour you drive over 60 mph, you add about $0.30 a gallon to the price of your gas.

It seems like a form of protest against the car culture. Or at least a refusal to keep buying into the mindset that you have to get everywhere as fast as you possibly can. I've driven the hurried way for a long time and paradoxically I'm almost always late for everything. Today I drove 'slowly' and reached my destination an hour early. Maybe the gas price thing...maybe other, um, factors...enabled me to break through my resistance to the idea of not driving 70 mph everywhere I go. I drive a lot, so if I can practice mindfulness while driving, that's a lot of practice.

3 comments:

adam said...

I always seem to be late as well!

I got curious about your mindfulness driving and found this:
http://www.wildmind.org/applied/daily-life/mindful-driving

Anonymous said...

Collest item I've read in ages. j

Emily said...

Adam--I checked out that link and I definitely want to add the well-wishing to my practice. As opposed to the smugness and judgment.