The Mast-Head: Bad Mileage

My trips from the office or home base add up to real money

   This is the season in which the parents of grade-school children put entirely too many miles on their vehicles. There are year-end dance recitals, music and theater performances, sports league playoffs, and the like to ferry the younger set to and from. Lisa and I have been spending what seems like hours every afternoon tooling between Amagansett and points west with one or more children in the back seat.
    Since I drive a lumbering pickup truck, my trips from the office or home base add up to real money. Moreover, I can just about feel the planet getting hotter from my contributions to greenhouse gas emissions.
    A while back, when Lisa was looking to lease a new vehicle, we drove a sporty Volkswagen Jetta station wagon which, with a turbo diesel under the hood, got something like 40 miles a gallon. She opted for a Chevy instead, but I haven’t gotten over my case of mileage envy for those who drive cars that do better. My Toyota, at least according to the estimates from the Environmental Protection Agency, gets an embarrassing 14 miles to the gallon.
    What with gas prices being high (and higher still on the South Fork the farther you go east) it probably runs me more than $8 to make a run to Bridgehampton to pick up one daughter after her dance lessons and drive home again. But, the Volkswagen I covet is expensive, my truck is paid for, and there are plenty of household and child-rearing expenses to be dealt with. So I keep chugging along in the gas-guzzler, reluctantly doing my part to keep the oil drillers and gas refiners in clover.
    I like to think about the day I can ride a bicycle to work. It is seven miles door to door from our house. The late Marvin Kuhn, who worked at The Star for many years, would make the round trip from Amagansett on his blue 10-speed in almost any weather. I always admired him for it.
    Once the kids are in gas-guzzlers of their own, perhaps.