Friday, June 20, 2008

Gasoline Experiment

Lately I have been experimenting with changing up my driving habits a little. I haven’t tried to do a full blown experiment, but today I decided to try just that. After my trip to work and back, I realized my gas needle, which usually changes by about an eighth of a tank, had hardly moved at all.

So I filled up my tank and I am going to try all of my little tricks out for the next week. Here are my plans, and also some cautions if you plan to try any of this.

Slower Acceleration

Pretty self explanatory. When coming from a dead stop I will accelerate more slowly. (Just in case you did need an explanation!)

There are not a lot of hills in my area, but today I noticed two on my way home. I took my foot off the gas about 25 yards before the hill and coasted down. It added 5 mpg to my speed and I was able to get up the next hill to the stop sign without adding any more gas.

I have started coasting as soon as I see lights turn to amber, before curves, and up to stop signs (and obviously on hills as prev. mentioned.). In the past, my habit was to stay on the gas and brake hard at the stop. This caused me to use more gas and lose all that energy when I suddenly stopped. This new way means that I stop using gas at the beginning of the coast, and lose less energy when I have to stop.

Speed Limit- Speed Reduction

I am doing the speed limit on all streets now and if I get behind a slow car, I STAY behind them. This is probably going to be the hardest thing for me because I am really used to going 5-10 MPH over the posted limit… I know tsk, tsk.

I am also going to reduce my speed on the highway by 10 MPH. Actually it will be even more since I was going closer to 80 and will tune it down to 60 from now on. I recently read that you lose 5 MPG when you go 10 MPH over 55, and 5 MPG more for each 10 over that. If this is true, than this is where I will pick up the most extra mileage.

I have already realized I am going to have to keep a sharp eye out for other motorists. They will pass you because you are not going fast enough and pull out in front of you if they can make it. Keep an eye out for these folks.

Be cautious when coasting. I took a curve today after coasting to it and still needed to apply the brakes a bit more than I expected. When you coast it is a good idea to keep your foot on the brake NOT the accelerator because if you are startled you may romp down on the wrong pedal.


So far I found it really amazing how much speed can be picked up coasting on hills. I knew I would pick up some speed, but I didn’t expect it to get me up the next hill.

I also found out that I can start coasting about 100 yards from my street, apply the brakes to turn, and still make it to my house without adding any gas. I still had to use the brakes to turn into the drive and I am about the 8th house down on my street!!

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