How Wisebread helped me get 45mpg out of my 28mpg car.
There have been several great articles written by my fellow Wisebread writers on gas efficient driving , slowing down and hypermiling . I think the sign of a good blog is that we take our own advice, and in the case of gasoline, I’ll take all the help I can get. But even I was shocked at the amazing results I got.
Before I took the advice, the best I got out of my 2006 VW Passat was 31.8 mpg. And I was happy with that. As you can see from the image below, the top mpg for my vehicle is 28mpg highway, and a paltry 19mpg city. So, I felt good about myself.
But as it turned out, I had a lot of bad driving habits. For a start, I was guilty of a lead foot, slamming it down as soon as the lights turned green. I would drive at the speed limit or just above, which meant doing 70mph when I was allowed. And I would often drive a little too close to the car in front. Not dangerously so, but enough to make me have to stop more quickly at a red light.
With all of this going on, I was still a pretty good driver. Getting my 31.8 mpg was nice to see (I have one of those mpg monitors in my display, which is very handy). But, I wanted to see if I could squeeze a little more out of my car using the tips from Lynn and David .
Here’s what I did:
First, I slowed down. I found 55-60mph was all I needed to do. Sure, it sometimes added a little more time to my journey, but only a few minutes. On my morning commute, I set off a little earlier.
I left much more space between my car and the car in front. This allowed my to coast more, and I did a lot less braking. Sometimes I would find myself never stopping, but merely slowing and speeding up. And remember, when you stop at a light you’re getting a big fat ZERO mpg.
I stopped treating traffic lights like the beginning of a Nascar race. Instead, when the light turned green I pulled away slow and steady. Sometimes I’d hear honking horns but I just ignored them. So what?
I used my cruise control. This is one of those hypermiling tips that is killer. Unlike the accelerator peddle, the cruise control + and – settings are much more accurate and controllable. I could accelerate by 1/2mph or 1mph, and slow down in the same way. This is very gas efficient.
That was it. I started a few months ago, and this week I hit 45mpg on a trip that I used to get 29mpg on. The proof is below. It’s not the best quality, it was taken on my cell phone, but it’s not tampered with in any way. Scout’s honor.
What does that mean monetarily? Well, my car has an 18.5gallon tank. It costs around $65 to fill it up (and who knows how much more that will increase to…scary thought).
Using my old method of driving, the most mileage I can get from that tank (if I’m only taking highway journeys) is 588 miles. That’s 31.8 x 18.5. Now, with my new method of driving I can get 832 miles from that one tank of gas. That’s 244 extra miles, or about 5 gallons of fuel. That’s a bunch! And I’m filling my car up every two weeks, which means Wisebread has saved me up to $40 each month. And by the way, I don't do a lot of city driving, but when I do I still get 34mpg. That's almost double the estimate for my vehicle.
It just goes to show…it pays to listen to your friends sometimes. Thanks Lynn and David.