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Christopher Greaves

Don't Change Gears

Bearing in mind a driver’s propensity to take action to burn up energy by applying the brakes, I wondered what other actions might serve to dissipate energy.

Gears!

In particular, changing gears, whether automatic or manual, requires an adjustment of the speeds of two rotating shafts, and that requires a frictional clutch-plate (in the case of a manual gear box) or its equivalent in an automatic drive.

Was driving a five-speed Hyundai Excel at the time, and rarely changed gears, but I began to wonder if I could change gears even less frequently than I did.

I once drove a party from Etobicoke to Balls Falls and back again. On our return to Etobicoke I stooped the car, pushed the gear lever into neutral and applied the hand-brake.

My passenger remarked ‘Oh! I thought this was an automatic”.

That too brought home to me how little we really need to change gears.

Changing gears burns extra energy, and that means burning extra gas.

And that means extra money as well as (slightly!) more frequent stops for gas, and truth is, we’d really like to drive from Toronto to San Diego on a single tank of gas.


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Toronto, Friday, August 14, 2015 12:54 PM

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