Conservation WORKS!

When there’s a logical reason to CONSERVE!

Back before my buddy mentioned he had increased the gas mileage on his Ford significantly by modifying his driving habits, I had heard of some guy out in California pulling about 60mpg from a bone stock Honda Accord.

It’s called “Hypermiling” or trying to squeeze the highest MPG out of your car.  Given the price of fuel right now, anything I can do to lower my commitment to big oil is worth a try.

Before my last fill up, I modified my driving habits.

1. Don’t start the car until I actually plan on moving.  How often do you get in your car, start it, and THEN get your seat belt on, pick the radio station, check your mirrors, etc…  Now I do all that first, even get it into gear with the clutch down before I start it up.  If I happen to park on a downhill, like in my driveway – I’ll coast out to the road before I turn the key.

2. Easy acceleration.  The speed limit is 55mph, you don’t need to get there in Car & Driver road test times.  I get through the gears as fast as possible so I can have smooth and steady acceleration without going over 2500-3000RPM on the odometer.  Most times I don’t even break 2000RPM.  When I can pull a rolling stop without getting caught, I usually try to do it with 2nd gear.

3. When possible, coast.  I hit a lot of down-hill stretches when I drive.  In most cases, when I’m going downhill in gear, say at 55mph – I take the car out of gear.  The RPM immediately drops from 2500RPM+ to less than 800RPM as the engine idles.  Same rule goes for lower speed areas.

4. Less braking.  Braking turns the energy used to maintain your speed into heat, wasting it.  I don’t use my brakes unless I absolutely have to.

Now I can’t say what effect if any my habits would have on the MPG for YOUR car, but in my first outing I’ve gone from an average of high 28MPG to just barely over 29MPG to over 34.1MPG in my 2005 Volkswagen GTI.

Do the math on that, 14.5 gallon tank, normally I’d use 10 gallons of fuel to travel approximately 290 miles.  Now with the same 10 gallons of fuel, I’m going 340 miles.  That 50 mile difference is equal to about 1.7 gallons of gas saved, or $7.50 at the pump compared to how I used to drive.

Now the GTI is a fun car, and I still throw the girl through curves and have a little fun.  None of this takes any of the fun out of driving, it is simply being more conscious of how my driving affects my wallet.  There are a few more things I plan on trying out – like shutting down at stoplights, riding in the wake of tractor trailers and SUV’s while on the highway, increasing my tire pressure a bit, etc…

Not going crazy here, but it’s fun, and I’m SAVING money by doing it, it doesn’t cost me anything.

One note though – if you try any of these and fuck up your car or have an accident – it’s not my fault, I don’t want to hear about it, and I will laugh at you profusely for even considering it.

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