Archive for June, 2012

Fuelonomics 101

How many of you don’t drive a vehicle? Have you ever tried to figure out what you spend on fuel per year? I did. I spent about $3000 in 2010 $2700 in 2011. My projection for this year is $1900. Driving is costly. How can we save some money on fuel and have pleasant trips. I will give you some tips.

The first tip is avoiding aggressive driving. Rapid acceleration and sudden breaks increase fuel consumption by 5% in city roads and 33% in highways. Use the cruise control as much as possible when you drive on highways. It is easy. Just set it and relax.

What do you save by becoming a non aggressive driver? 20 cents to $1.25 per gallon at current gas price.

The second tip is to observe the speed of your car. Gas mileage usually decreases rapidly at speeds above 60 mph. we can save up to 23% if we can maintain at 60 miles per hour. I am not recommending driving at 60 miles per hour in 75 speed limit zone when you go on a vacation. In these occasional trips time-saving is more valuable than the added fuel cost. But, it is well worth driving at 60 miles per hour on our routine trips.

What do you save by driving at 60 miles per hour? You can assume that each 5 mph will cost you an additional $0.30 cents per gallon for gas.

(Speed vs. MPG relationship varies among different vehicles. Preliminary results from current Oak Ridge National Laboratory study show a 3–5 mpg drop per 10 mph increase over 50 mph. On average, light-duty vehicles typically reach optimal fuel efficiency at speeds between 30 mph and 50 mph.)

Please don’t be adamant that you drive at 60 miles per hour in school zones to save gas. It is against the law.

My last tip is to remove all the junk from the trunk. Also avoid loading people just because you have empty seats. An extra 100 pounds in your vehicle will cut your fuel economy by up to 2 percent.

Again, don’t try to save fuel by making your spouse or partner stay at home all the time. It will cost you more than what you save on fuel.

I did an experiment with my car. I drive twice week to University of Nevada, Reno. This is a 35 miles trip from my home mostly on highways. Before the experiment, my average gas mileage was 23 miles per gallon. I started driving at about 63 miles per hour on US 395 highway (soon to be I-580) in Washoe valley and in South Reno. My gas mileage became 26. That is more than 10% savings. Also I timed my trips with a stop watch on my cell phone. It takes only three more minutes.

Please visit http://www.fueleconomy.gov/, http://www.epa.gov/fueleconomy/ and http://www.nhtsa.gov/fuel-economy for more information on fuel savings.

All I ask you is to try these ideas. If you think that you are too rich and these savings are not worth, no problem. Just go back to your old driving habits.

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