Operation Empty: How to Waste 28 Gallons of Gas in 96 Hours

scam (n): a fraudulent or deceptive act or operation

Last month my truck was involved in a minor fender bender. After a month-long investigation, Geico determined that I (the guy who was stopped at a red light) was not at fault, and agreed to pay for the damages.

I took my truck to Service King in Oklahoma City. I like Service King for three reasons. First, they do good work. Second, they text me updates instead of calling me. And third, both Geico and Enterprise have representatives co-located there. It’s a one-stop shop; you drop off your vehicle and before you know it, a Service King employee is examining your car while Geico handles the paperwork and the guy from Enterprise hands you the keys to a rental car.

Scams, by their very definition, are designed to trick people into paying or doing things they wouldn’t normally do. When the guy from Enterprise sold me on the idea of letting them fill the car (a Toyota Camry) up with gas, he mentioned that Enterprise only charges $1.69/gallon for gas. What he didn’t mention (until I had signed the agreement) was that they would charge me for an entire tank of gas, regardless of how much I used.

Everybody I mentioned this to said, “oh, that’s how it works.” So, lesson learned. Also, when someone charges me for an entire tank of gas, I will use every drop of it and return your car on fumes. Because “that’s how I work.”

Saturday morning I received a call that my truck was ready to be picked up. Sorry fellas, I had plans. Operation Empty had begun.

Saturday began with lunch at Panda Express. I could have gone inside to eat, but instead I ordered my food to go and ate in the rental car with the engine running and the air conditioner on full blast. Brr!

Unfortunately, Panda Express is only about five miles away from my house, and the Toyota Camry doesn’t use much gasoline while idling. With most of my large lemonade remaining, I drove over to Lake Overholser to enjoy the view while finishing it.

Lake Overholser is a nice place to go if you want to sit inside a rental car with the engine running and enjoy the view. But after a few minutes I thought to myself, “You know what’s missing here? Boats!” That’s when I decided to drive back north and park at Lake Hefner instead. If you know Oklahoma City at all you might be wondering, “why would Rob drive 7 miles south from the Panda Express on NW Expressway and drink half of his drink, only to turn around and drive 15 miles back north to drink the second half?” If you’re wondering that, you’ve missed the point.

And you’re right, that’s not exactly what I did; because while I was at Lake Overholser, I thought it would be nice if I had a squeeze bottle for some water. The first place I thought of was Big Lots, and there’s one pretty close to there in Yukon. So instead I drove to the one off of NW 63rd and May and bought a 99 cent squeeze bottle. Again, let me assure you that if you’re not familiar with the city, this makes absolutely no sense.

THEN, I went to Lake Hefner.

I made a few other trips that afternoon. When it came time for dinner I asked everyone, “Who wants to go to Pops?” Not because the food is great, but because it’s 30 miles away!

Mmm mmm mmm! You know what goes well with bottles of soda pop? The smell of gasoline, baby.

Sunday morning was Mother’s Day. I drove the Camry to pick up breakfast, and later we took it to go visit my mom.

That afternoon, we drove it to go have lunch. That evening, we drove it to the movies. Monday, I drove it to Edmond.

Monday afternoon, I received a call. “This is Geico. We are calling to inform you that this is the last day we are paying for the rental car.”

Sorry, I can’t hear you, Enterprise.

I won’t lie. We discussed putting the car on jack stands and letting it run, or siphoning the gas out into an army of gas cans. You charge me for a full tank of gas, I don’t screw around.

With an embarrassing “79 miles until empty” message mocking me on the Camry’s digital dashboard, I returned the car Monday afternoon, letting the engine run the entire time I was inside signing the final paperwork. If only it hadn’t been Mother’s Day weekend, I could have returned that thing on fumes.

I think the takeaway from this story is that Toyota Camrys get really good gas mileage.

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1 comment to Operation Empty: How to Waste 28 Gallons of Gas in 96 Hours

  • Mom

    I would so Only my son, except that I can see your dad doing exactly the same thing. Ha ha ha!

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