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  • Gas saving tips

    The Tests

    Our results are based on two separate fuel testing sessions. On each occasion we took two cars from the long-term fleet and drove on a 56-mile test loop. Our route circled Owens Lake near Lone Pine, California, at the foot of Mount Whitney, the tallest mountain in the lower 48 states. We chose the route because it was so deserted we could vary our speed and driving style without interfering with the flow of traffic. The only other cars we saw on the route were a caravan of test vehicles from Mercedes-Benz. We drove the loops back-to-back to ensure that we were comparing similar wind and temperatures. We logged our results and later put them on a spreadsheet where the results were averaged.

    Test #1: Aggressive vs. Moderate Driving

    This is gonna hurt. Our tests showed that the most significant way to save gas is: you. And we're talking massive fuel economy gains. Think you need a hybrid? Chances are you've got hybrid-style mileage in your gas pedal foot. Don't mash the gas when you start up. Take the long view of the road and brake easy. This tip alone can save you unbelievable amounts of gas. If you slowed your 0-to-60-mph acceleration time down from your current 10 seconds to a more normal city pace of 15 seconds, you'll feel the savings immediately.

    Method: We conducted this test four times. The first time we did the full 55-mile loop once by accelerating aggressively 15 times at 3/4-throttle from zero to a cruising speed of 75 mph. We also applied the brakes hard to come to a full stop. Then, we drove the second loop by accelerating moderately 15 times at 1/4-throttle to a cruising speed of 70 mph. We braked lightly to a full stop. In the second set of tests we drove 25 miles making 25 rapid accelerations to 65 mph at 3/4-throttle. After 1 minute of cruising we braked hard and repeated the cycle up to 65 mph. We then drove the same distance making 25 moderation accelerations to 60 mph at 1/4-throttle. After 1 minute of cruising we applied the brakes easily and came to a full stop.

    Test #2 Lower Speeds Saves Gas

    Remember a thing called the speed limit? On most highways it is either 65 or 70 mph. How fast are the cars and trucks around you going? From 75 mph to 90 mph. These people are wasting a lot of gas for the chance to get there a little earlier. Factor in safety concerns and a speeding ticket once or twice a year and going fast is a costly proposition.

    Method: This test was simple. For 50 miles we drove with the cruise control set at 65 mph. Then, for another 50-mile stretch we drove with cruise set at 75 mph. We repeated this test going in the opposite direction. It is amazing how obvious the difference in gas mileage was. Just think what would have happened if we had slowed down to 60 mph. The only problem is with impatient drivers behind you. One driver became so irate that he tried to run our editor off the road. Still, if you are pinched by gas prices. Leave a little early and drive the speed limit (in the slow lane).

    Test #3 Use Cruise Control

    Using cruise control is a bit of gas-saving advice frequently on tips lists. We have always agreed with this tip in theory but we hadn't expected such significant results. First, it smoothes out the driver's accelerator input by preventing nervous "surging." Second, it makes the driver take the long view of the road rather than reacting to every change in the traffic around them.

    Method: We did this test twice with four different cars each time driving the 55-mile loop. The first time we set cruise control to 70 mph. The second time, with the cruise control off, we varied our speed between 65 mph and 75 mph. We tried to mimic the driving style of a person who is in moderate freeway traffic.

    One thing that's important to note: if you are in a mountainous area you should turn off cruise. It will try to keep you up to the speed you've set and will use a lot of extra gas downshifting to lower gears to accomplish this.

    Test #4 A/C On, Windows Up vs. A/C Off, Windows DownTest #5: Check Your Tire PressureTest #6 Avoid Excessive Idling

    If you turn off a light bulb as you leave the room you'll save electricity. If you turn off your car you will save gas. Obviously. But related questions are more difficult to answer. If you're only stopping for only a minute, is it better to shut off the engine or keep it idling? Should I shut off the engine in traffic? How much gas will this save? What rule of thumb do I use when trying to save gas this way?

    Method: We took two cars and drove a 10-mile route stopping 10 times for two minutes. We shut down the car each time. Then we drove the same route at the same speed and let the car idle for two minutes.


    The good news is that you can drastically improve your gas mileage. The caveat is that you have to change your driving habits. If you are willing to change, you'll find many related benefits too: no speeding tickets, greater safety, reduced stress and lower repair bills for tires and brake pads. In the long run this will save you money. And who knows? You might like the new you.

  • #2
    Re: Gas saving tips

    Great info. thanks for posting it!


    • #3
      Re: Gas saving tips

      I found myself going 70 on my way home last week when suddenly the light bulb went on and I remembered the drive 55 era of Carter. I still can't drive 55, but I slowed to 60-65 and am actually saving gas! (Also staying out of the fast lane and not trying to keep accelerating to pass people...)

      Thanks for the tips! I drive a freakin Ford Gas Sucking Explorer and I can't wait to get rid of it! :bang:


      • #4
        Re: Gas saving tips

        Ive actually been paying attention to my driving and have not been gunning it like I usually do and have noticed a huge difference.


        • #5
          Re: Gas saving tips

          Originally posted by localdisnyfan
          I still can't drive 55, but I slowed to 60-65 and am actually saving gas!
          You might save gas, but driving that slow can be a serious hazard, especially on SoCal freeways. I know on my drive to work, I get a little scared to drive below 70 because that's simply the flow of traffic. Anything less and you run the risk of being hit by impatient, rude, dangerous drivers!!!

          Originally posted by Senator David Wu (D-OR)
          Don't let faux-klingons send real Americans to war!

          Originally posted by TheHousingBubbleBlog
          Everyone says that the U.S. doesn’t make anything anymore, but that’s not exactly true. We’re the world leader in the manufacturing of bull****.


          • #6
            Re: Gas saving tips

            "We can't roll the windows down or everyone on the highway will think we can't afford A/C."

            Thanks for posting this O'nut! I'm heading up to Seattle this weekend and will put the cruise on at 65.


            • #7
              Re: Gas saving tips

              Well, I guess I'm much more practical than I thought I was . I already do all those things and more, like planning my trips for max efficiency and keeping stuff out of my PT unless I need it to keep the weight down. I didn't know that about the air conditioner, that's gonna save some discussion come summer.
              A bit of evil lurks in your heart, but you hide it well.
              In some ways, you are the most dangerous kind of evil. :evil:


              • #8
                Re: Gas saving tips

                I didn't see any of the results and recommendations, so here they are:


                My thoughts in red:
                Test #1 Aggressive Driving vs. Moderate Driving

                Recommendation: Stop driving like a maniac.
                I need to start doing this. My car is a bit too fun to accelerate through 6 gears.

                Test #2 Lower Speeds Saves Gas

                Result: Substantial savings on a long trip

                Cold Hard Facts: Up to 14 percent savings, average savings of 12 percent

                Recommendation: Drive the speed limit.
                Hmm, I'll slow down a little on the highway (to speed limit +5), but I already keep to the speed limit on surface streets.

                Test #3 Use Cruise Control

                Result: Surprisingly effective way to save gas

                Cold Hard Facts: Up to 14-percent savings, average savings of 7 percent

                Recommendation: If you've got it, use it.
                I already use Cruise control, except through mountain/hill passes.

                Test #4 A/C On, Windows Up vs. A/C Off, Windows Down

                Result: Nice in theory; not true in practice

                Cold Hard Facts: No measurable difference (unless you open the sunroof, too!)

                Recommendation: Please, make yourself comfortable.
                I don't like the wind whipping around inside at high speeds, so I'll keep doing what I'm doing, since there's no measurable difference.

                Test #5 Check Your Tire Pressure

                Result: Important for safety and to reduce tire wear

                Cold Hard Facts: No measurable effect on the vehicles we tested

                Recommendation: Check your tire pressure often but don't expect a big savings.
                My tires are very expensive, so I'll check the pressure tonight.

                Test #6 Avoid Excessive Idling

                Result: More important than we assumed

                Cold Hard Facts: Idling saves an average of 19 percent

                Recommendation: Stopping longer than a minute? Shut 'er down.
                I do this in the In-N-Out drive-thru.
                Last edited by sediment; 04-26-2006, 03:59 PM.


                • #9
                  Re: Gas saving tips

                  Thank goodness they came out with a study that says the A/C doesn't make a bit of difference on the gas mileage! I have been saying that for awhile. Woohoo! Thanks ever so much for the facts!
                  Sig by Poisonedapples!


                  • #10
                    Re: Gas saving tips

                    Another thing, maintain your frickin car!!! Take it in for its scheduled services and your car will take care of you!

                    If you have errands to run, do them all at once. Dont do some, go home, then go out later. Plan your trips for maximum efficiency. Make some stops on the way home from work, like the grocery store or whatever. If you can wait a day or 2 for an item just make ONE trip instead of multiple trips.


                    • #11
                      Re: Gas saving tips

                      Test #4 A/C On, Windows Up vs. A/C Off, Windows Down
                      I remember when they tested this on Mythbusters. They got the same results for the most part... actually I think they got a better MPG reading with the A/C on than they did with the windows down.

                      And it's good to check your tire pressure at LEAST a couple times a month. I have good tires on my car so I want to last for a long time.

                      I totally agree on the keep your car maintained too. It's amazing how some people wait way longer than they should just to get the oil changed or whatever. Pay thousands of dollars for a car just to let it rot? Stupid!


                      • #12
                        Re: Gas saving tips

                        Here's mine: Ride your bike, carpool or take public transit to work. I live just under 4 miles from work, and it only takes me about 5 minutes longer to bike there, because of city traffic and stoplights, etc.
                        Have bicycle, will ride. Finished 2012 with 10,089 miles, 683 hours, and 482,000 feet of elevation gain.
                        2013: 201 rides, 8171 miles, 544 hours, 480K feet.
                        2014 so far: 7846 miles, 451,000 feet


                        • #13
                          Re: Gas saving tips

                          KIA spectra

                          36 MPG
                          32 in town

                          cost new in 2001 $10,000

                          with the higher gas cost this year it is costing me about $20.00 per month over last year

                          I love my car
                          THIS SPACE FOR SALE OR LEASE



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