Hypermile, by Glenn Cassidy

by Glenn Cassidy

If you accelerate from a stoplight
slower than an inchworm
millimetering along a yardstick,
your Prius can get a thousand miles a gallon.
If you drive thirty-five on I-95,
eighteen-wheelers, oversize vehicles,
and farm equipment passing
on the left and on the right,
your Prius can get a thousand miles a gallon.
If a blue-haired old lady,
shrunken until her head is barely visible
over the steering wheel, is riding your ass
and flashing highbeams to get you to go faster,
your Prius can get a thousand miles a gallon.

Just ease your foot off the greenhouse gas pedal
and watch the green digits climb
beyond the range of the fuel economy gauge.
Pay no mind to the speedometer
or traffic backing up behind you,
the student driver cutting through the shoulder
with her instructor’s blessing,
passengers hiding their faces
from the angry eyes and expressive fingers
of drivers showing their joy
at the opportunity to finally pass you.
If you keep your head inside
the oxygen-rich, CO2-deficient
bubble, where the gas engine never revs
and you can barely hear
the electric motor’s whiny whisper,
your Prius can get a thousand miles a gallon.

Author’s Comment: The idea for this poem churned in my head for over a year after observing how his new Prius affected a friend’s driving behavior, and it finally gelled one evening on my way to the supermarket. Approaching a red light, I could stop behind a Prius or another car, and I invoked the Prius Stop Light Rule: always choose other. The first line of the poem came to me as I waited, with a complete draft by the time I reached the market, when I wrote it down immediately.

Bio: Glenn Cassidy is a consultant and educator based in Carrboro, NC. He has a Ph.D. in public policy analysis and has taught public finance at several universities including UNC Chapel Hill. His poetry and short fiction often draw on social science and public policy issues, frequently making humorous commentary on the behavior of humans, politicians, celebrities, and other vertebrates. Editors at Main Street Rag, The Dead Mule School of Southern Poetry, Prime Number Magazine, and other journals have been entertained enough to publish some of his work. He maintains a blog at http://www.anglesandrhymes.blogspot.com.

4 thoughts on “Hypermile, by Glenn Cassidy

  1. Actually, after reading it, I started conducting my own Prius mileage experiments. I don’t quite understand the “pulse and glide” technique, but using drafting, slingshotting, and coasting (which may be what they mean by gliding), I was able to add 10 mpg on three consecutive long trips. Of course, then I got lazy (or distracted) and started using the cruise control again.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s