Friday, May 16, 2008

Slow Down

Gas is $4.17 a gallon in my neighborhood, which really is amazing. Unfortunately there's not a whole lot I can do to drive less. I drive to and from work, a round trip of 24 miles, occasionally have to leave the office for meetings or field work, and then on weekends do what every suburban parent does -- drive my kids around. I drive a 1997 Subaru with 112,000 miles that gets a bit over 20 miles to the gallon, not a great gas-saver but not a hog either.

I saw a link on Chris Zurcher's headlines blog about how much gas you can save if you simply drive more slowly:

The Union of Concerned Scientists tells us that dropping from 70 to 60 mph improves fuel efficiency by an average of 17.2 percent. Dropping from 75 to 55 improves fuel efficiency by 30.6 percent!

Put another way, in a family sedan, every 10 mph you drive over 60 is like paying 54 cents per gallon more for gas you bought at $3.25 a gallon. (4) That extra cost is even higher for big SUVs and other less-efficient vehicles.

And the time you save by going easy on the accelerator may not add up to as much as you thought. On a 300-mile trip, driving 65 instead of 70 mph would cost you only 20 minutes -- but save money and spew less carbon.

That reminded me of my brilliant idea from January (here and here): State departments of transportation should begin campaigns to persuade drivers to slow down. One way to get the message across is to use those flashing signs that tell you when there's a traffic jam or roadwork ahead. If there are no problems to tell us about, put them toanother use: Flash a message that says, "Slow down to save gas and fight climate change. Driving 55 can save up to 30 percent."

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Blogger Sam said...

Another good 'un Tom. I read another authoritative study (dang if I can remember the title or author) that said that if you reduced "jackrabbit" driving, technically known as transients, you can save another 30 percent on fuel consumption. Try to let the engine slow you down and use brakes below 30 MPH, things like that. Unless you have a racing car like a Cobra or XKE there is absolutely no need to "blow your tubes out" by rapidly accelerating, either. -sam

8:17 PM  
Blogger Nan Patience said...

The solution all around seems to be to slow down and to get smart. It's a totally different lifestyle and way of thinking requiring sacrifice and a coming to terms with reality.

I guess the only way is the hard way.

12:40 PM  
Anonymous Kaizen Consulting Blog said...

You have provided some good information. I had no idea just driving a little slower helps out that much.

1:16 AM  

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