The Pope and Hypermiling in America

Hypermiling is the way to drive now.  I drive the “family car” which is an SUV and more than once I have been told that there is nothing you can do to get more gas mileage out of those things, alas! But believe me when I say this: I got another 93 miles out of my gas tank this time by changing my driving habits; thinking more and accelerating less.

Now what does the Pope have to do with my driving technique?  Well, back in 2008, he came out with the Ten Commandments forDrivers; I thought it was amazingly funny, but needed. One day I was driving along, pleased about my gas savings, and being passed by “gunners,” when I realized that the Ten Commandments for Drivers lend perfectly to hypermiling. Here’s how:

1. You shall not kill.
If you are driving the speed limit or even a tad lower, you have more control of the vehicle and less chance of serious crashes, etc.

2. The road shall be for you a means of communion between people and not of mortal harm.
Again, I say, driving the speed limit or below, not accelerating excessively, and just plain behaving more conscientiouslyamounts to less chance of mortal harm.

3. Courtesy, uprightness and prudence will help you deal with unforeseen events.
Driving more conscientiously lends to us having more time to plan ahead for up- coming lights, turns, pedestrians, bikes, etc.

4. Be charitable and help your neighbor in need, especially victims of accidents.
As we learn to drive more kindly, possibly we would be less road-angry and more humane?

5. Cars shall not be for you an expression of power and domination, and an occasion of sin.
Hypermiling is so peaceful! Constantly listening to your engine and driving as smoothly as possible, envisioning all the gas droplets that are NOT going into burn oblivion. The only power and domination one could feel would be triumph over the gas pump and oil companies.

6. Charitably convince the young and not so young not to drive when they are not in a fitting condition to do so.
Hypermiling also makes one think: Do I need to go out today? Is this trip necessary? Can I bum gas money out of mom one more time to go hang with my buddies?

7. Support the families of accident victims.
Hypermiling could very well lead to far less accidents! As we become more aware of our driving techniques and low down, making more time allowances, we can become a nation of peaceful drivers!

8. Bring guilty motorists and their victims together, at the appropriate time, so that they can undergo the liberating experience of forgiveness.
With less accidents and calmer drivers, forgiveness is truly possible. More so than ever before we finding ourselves needing to change the way we think about that common, but necessary thing we do in our daily lives, drive.

9. On the road, protect the more vulnerable party.
Hypermiling is an adjustment, but slowing down, allowing more travel time, and being aware of our technique is a better thing all around, especially for pedestrians, our children and passengers and cyclists.

10. Feel responsible toward others.
Finally a reason to be responsible drivers: to save money — that’s right where it hurts. If changing our habits and saving money at the pump causes us to slow down and be kinder behind the wheel, then so be it!

With every dilemma, there comes a resolve.  So, why pout about high gas prices when there is a silver lining to this whole thing!  Now let’s get out there and DRIVE… nice!

A Master Catechist,  Ebeth Weidner is the wife of a scientist and mom to 3 wonderful young people.  She is the author of “A Catholic Mom climbing the Pillars” blog and a contributor to CatholicMom.com, Catholic Lane, and the new blog:  Association of Catholic Women Bloggers.  Ebeth shares her journey with others as she climbs the pillars of truth in the Catholic Church.