Wednesday, September 03, 2008

one month later, she lives

i guess it's been one month exactly (almost) since i posted last. well, that means nothing except a lame introductory sentence to a milestone blog post. which is only a milestone because of...never mind.

i am writing this late night to tell you about my car mileage experiments. i like experiments a lot, especially the kinds that last for months and yield unbelievable results. this one isn't quite unbelievable, but it is significant enough for me to share it with you at 2am.

i drive a 6-cylinder car, automatic transmission, something like 3.6 litre engine. the gas mileage usually attained from my nice little car is not wonderful...usually somewhere around 230 miles to the E-point on my tank (i hardly ever figure out how many miles per gallon i get - nothing in this post will refer to MPG, but instead to Miles Per Tank). my last two or three MPT were not 230, but 280. that's right, i got an extra 50 miles out of my $50 tank of gas. and a good thing too.

here's a side note. i have been taking the bus a lot, which significantly increases my own personal miles per gallon. by going to school via the bus every day (or almost every day), i get around 12 free daily miles that don't ever come out of my own tank. this makes my own MPG around 50. but this is just a side note, since i said i wouldn't talk about MPG. i just wanted to mention that my personal MPG is way higher than my car's MPG. i think it's a good thing if you can get a better mileage rating than your car, especially if you can do it and not have to pay for parking either. double bonus.

anyways, here are some of the ways i have been significantly increasing my tank mileage.

  • by doing a LOT of coasting. you would be stunned how far you can actually get without pushing the pedal at all. sometimes it means *gasp* going under the speed limit. but if i'm not around any cars, i don't worry about that. you might see me crawling at 20mph down 70th Street as i approach the turn-in to my neighborhood. i can also go for about a half-mile on 70th street without ever hitting the gas pedal OR going much under the speed limit.
  • not allowing my tachometer to (hardly) ever go above 2000 RPMs (actually it should be said RsPM). now, this is a kind of arbitrary number that i chose after a lot of observation and experimentation, and i'm sure every car's different, but it's been working for me. basically keep your tach as low as possible...or, let it shift into a lower gear before you ask it to do more. this means very slow acceleration, especially on hills. you might have to wait to pull out into traffic until there aren't going to be cars on your tail. that will let you accomplish this little trick without getting a lot of honks (or birds) from other drivers.
  • not running my A/C unless absolutely necessary. it helps that my car only blows air on Maximum - so it's easy to leave it off at risk of being flattened into my seat by the vents' force.
  • trying to brake as little as possible. this sounds bad, but what it means is let gravity slow you down instead of making your car do the work artificially. if there's a hill coming up, just use that. this will mean timing the stop lights a lot more carefully. you want to do as little start-stop as possible. one way you can do this is by slowing down way before a red light so that, when it turns green, you can get back up to speed without ever having had to stop. i am no expert, but i am convinced that this is better for your engine that stopping it and then getting it going again. mostly, just try and keep the tach at a stable place, and don't let it fling itself up and down.
  • making myself stay in the slower lane so i'm not required to quickly speed up to keep other drivers happy.
  • not using E-10 fuel (seriously).
  • timing stop lights correctly. i already mentioned this but it's important. whenever you can, time your arrivals to intersections so that you have to slow down and speed up as little as possible. this takes practice and a lot of attention to the road. just be aware of other drivers, please. :)
  • doing these things not just sometimes, but ALL the time. i'm trying now to see if i can get my MPT to 300. i don't think i can, but i keep getting closer.
  • keeping my windshield free of insects and bird poop, to reduce wind resistance.
  • installing a pair of wings so i can glide instead of drive, when possible.
ok, now that my tiredness is catching up with me, i will cease and desist from making any more list items. hopefully these little things (which are really intrinsic and don't need a lot of technical know-how) can inspire you to get a better MPT. most people i know realize that they are getting poor mileage out of their tank, but they continue to drive the way they are used to driving. gas doesn't have to be quite as much of a tyrant as you think. i am just showing you the proof that a few changes in habit can make some real differences in how much money you end up spending at that wretched Pump.

i will end with the hopefully obvious and unnecessary disclaimer that when using any or all of these methods, you need to be really careful of other drivers and how you drive. don't make people mad! to be a good MPT driver, and also not make people mad at the same time, requires brain usage while driving. beware!! (i HATE bad drivers.) i think, though, that these few little changes potentially have the effect of making you a better, more aware driver. you have to be constantly on the lookout for stop lights, traffic patterns, and intersections...more so than if you were not also paying attention to your tachometer. :)

so that's it....i'm off to bed...let me know if you end up using any of these ideas, and if they help!


Post a Comment

<< Home

page hit counter