So you remember, perhaps, I recently got a used Honda Civic Hatchback from a friend. Lucky, too, since my own car had just broken down. Imagine my surprise when, on my first tank of gas, I made 31 MPG.

Well, that piqued my curiosity. Could I do better? You bet: I just got 42 MPG with no modifications! How? I'll tell you.

I started by inflating the tires. These tires are mismatched, since one of them suffered a bubble right next to the rim. THat means I can't inflate them to their max value. I settled for something suboptimal for everything.

That brought me up to 37 MPG. Yes, just that. And my driving is mostly city, with two 5-mile highway runs each week. An average of 26 miles per day, round trip.

Then I learned about "pulse and glide". Since I've got a manual transmission, it's easy for me. I just accelerate gradually to my top speed, kill the engine, coast to my bottom speed, and start the engine again. The acceleration is pulsing, the rest is gliding.

I stayed in the right lane, to avoid annoying people. I didn't get upset at folks who decided to go around me -- if they want to burn their money, that's their perogative. I started looking farther ahead, gauging lights and waiting times, and using my brakes as little as possible.

I just got 42.15 MPG on my latest fill-up. More than 400 miles on that 10 gallon tank.

I feel like my father, since he's been doing all this stuff since the last gas crisis. But I'm saving money, polluting less, and running with the hybrids. I'll bet I can get even better with a tune-up and new tires. Then there's the aerodynamic, timing, and suspension modifications I could make...