I didn't start caring about fuel economy because of any deep-seated, ultra-liberal leanings. The demon bride did it.
It was back in the late '70s during the last fuel crunch. I was in New Jersey for my former college roommate's wedding, and it was my job to get the bride to the church on time. I was given a giant full-size station wagon, powered by a "big-block" V-8 that averaged about 12 mpg (19.6L/100 km).
We had just pulled out of the driveway when the bride -- who already was a bit cranky -- pointed out that we were late and the needle was almost on empty. After driving past three or four gas stations that were closed because they lacked fuel, we found a little out-of-the-way station that was open. "What luck" we all said. That pump yielded exactly 18 cents worth.
The mood got very tense after that. We got out on the expressway and found a big station, along with a line the length of a football field. After creeping up the line for over 30 minutes, the attendant curtly informed us that we would be allocated a meager $3 worth of gas. "No exceptions."
"I've got to get to my effing wedding you effing moron!" shrieked the bride/diplomat.
"Nice mouth you got there lady. The groom will probably be better off if you don't show up," said the attendant.
Before I could apologize to the blushing bride for the pump jockey's lack of public relations skills, she yanked her veil off like a hockey helmet, jumped out of the car and started landing big rights on the guy like George Foreman.
At least, that's how I remember it.
If we had been driving something more fuel efficient at the time, all that ugliness could have been avoided. We all could have arrived at the church relaxed, unruffled, and without unsightly blood stains.
I've owned more than my share of gas guzzlers since then, but I take heart in the fact there are at least a few good-sized cars out there capable of good and sometimes extraordinary fuel economy -- just in case those gas lines come back someday.
By the way, my friend and his bride were able to finally tie the knot. They are still married -- to each other no less. I don't know if the gas station attendant ever got his nose fixed.