Well, the results are in. Driving an average of 7mph slower for an entire week did show and increase in fuel efficiency from 36.2 to 37.5 mpg. In fact in the year and a half I have tracked my car it has never reached 37 mpg. So what does that translate to in cents per gallon? My math may be a little rusty but I came to 13 cents. Not quite the 20 cents mentioned in the previous post but still not bad. 13 cents per gallon translates to 1/3 of a gallon less per week, or a dollar less per fill up. Put that way it doesn’t sound drastic, but I know people who will drive out of their way for a station that charges 2 cents a gallon less.
This experiment also taught me a few unexpected things about the mentality of drivers in my area. For one, a driver literally sandwiched his car between 2 semi-trailer trucks just to get around and exit exactly 20 feet in front of me. Another driver seemed to think that driving at the speed limit in the slow lane is inappropriate, and signaled me to move out of his way. Having grown up on Long Island I am used to such things, however I do tend to expect better from the semi-rural setting I live in now. I’ve heard rumors of a return to the federal speed maximum of 55 used during the 70’s gas crisis. This past week has made me doubt such a law is possible today.
I’m going to continue my hypermiling experiment. The next step is to shift into neutral when stopping or going down hill. That’s about the most I can do with an automatic transmission. They also say you should turn off your car if you will idle for more than 30 seconds, this includes going downhill. I’m not sure if I’m ready for that. However I have set a goal, to reach the 40 mpg advertised on the sticker when I bought my car. If that happens I will post it here.