Listener Challenges Radio Blowhard
On May 14, 2008, Mando reported the following incident which we take to be an honest and accurate description of events:
Saturday morning I was working in the garage listening to some local (Phoenix, Arizona) talk radio station. I was interested in the conversation because it was about gas mileage and the host said that he was an ASE certified mechanic with 35 years of auto repair and modification experience. Here is what he said:
“I get 20 mpg from my 3/4 ton Sierra pickup. I have not modified it in any way whatsoever. My secret is that every time I come to stop light I put the automatic transmission in neutral. By putting it in neutral the sensors read that there is no load on the engine which then puts the engine in a different operation mode. Just this simple thing has doubled my mpg.”
I heard this, did not believe what I had heard but he repeated it. Several people called in and thanked him for this great idea.
Being me, I started thinking:
- If this were true, pickups with standard transmissions would have a much higher mpg rating than pickups with automatics seeing as how anytime a truck with a standard transmission is stopped it has no load on the engine either by having the clutch disengaged or because it is in neutral.
- From what he said, half- one complete half- of all the gas used by his pickup is used while it is stopped at a light. How can this be?
So I did what I had to do. I called the station and challenged his comments on the air. He was not expecting this from anybody. First he asked me if I am ASE certified, then the line went dead.
Was I wrong in doing what I did?
What do you say? Was Mando wrong to challenge a self important blowhard? The unanimous answer is: “No, Mando, you were RIGHT!”