#527: Frugasity

Today I was reading one of those increasingly hysterical stories about how the high price of ‘gas’ is causing US drivers to consider more economical driving techniques (£1.12 per litre is what I’m paying in the UK…probably enough to cause a riot if the US govt inflicted our levels of tax over there).

Anyway, one of the suggestions I read was to drive as if one were on a pushbike…ie to live with a reduction in speed whenever the vehicle engine suddenly comes under increased load eg when heading uphill. Most people have a tendency to sink their right foot and try to maintain uniform speed, so this seems like reasonable advice.

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Today’s invention is a modification to the accelerator pedal which helps implement this regime and save fuel. A tlit sensor detects when the vehicle is heading uphill. Other sensors measure the load being pulled and the weight of its occupants. These data are interpreted by a hydraulic resistor which makes the pedal harder to depress when the engine is experiencing such harsh demands.

Gradual changes in loading, such as in smooth overtaking, could be arranged not to affect the accelerator pedal stiffness in this way.