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Conserving Gasoline

During WWII the Federal Government rationed gasoline to the general public. This was
a strategic commodity that was needed in the war effort. Each family was issued a book
of stamps allowing you a specified number of gallons of gasoline per month. If you used
up your allotted amount of gas before the month was out you did not go anywhere
the rest of the month.

We lived 16 miles from town and dad worked in town and the amount of gasoline he was
allotted was not enough for him to drive to work every day. Luckily there were three
other men in the same area who worked at the same place as dad. With four of them
taking time about driving, each one only had to drive one week out of each month. If one
of them had car trouble and was unable to drive his week, he would give his gas
allotment that week to the one driving in his place.

Dad developed other ways to conserve gasoline also. Anytime dad started down a hill, he
would shift the transmission into neutral, kill the motor, and ‘coast’ down the hill. At the
bottom of the hill, after the car slowed considerably, dad would turn the switch back on,
shift into high, let out on the clutch and start the motor again and go on. I remember one
hill where we could ‘coast’ for at least half a mile.

On the 16 mile trip from town to our house, dad could ‘coast’ at least 3 miles. Did this
save very much gas? It would save about a gallon of gas on each six trips. At that time it
wasn’t the price of gasoline that had everyone being so conservative, it was the shortage
of gasoline. As I stated earlier, if you used up your allotment before the month was out
you just didn’t go anywhere unless you could find someone who had extra
stamps that would sell them to you.

It wasn’t until I was almost grown and started studying the Texas Drivers Handbook to take
the test for my first drivers license thatI found out you weren’t supposed to let a vehicle
‘coast’ downhill. Of course, by then they were putting automatic transmissions in
most cars plus power steering and power brakes and you couldn’t let one ‘coast’ anyway.

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