Increased Fuel Economy, Easy

Here’s an irony: I used to live in the country, a small town with fewer than 900 residents, and I used to speed. Now I live in the city, well, as much of a city as New Hampshire can manage, and I’m driving slower.

Driving slower not just because Manchester‘s traffic lights are on timers they leave me listening to crickets chirping at empty intersections while they blindly tick tick tick through the cycles before finally giving me the green (usually just as somebody arrives at the newly reddened light on the other street).

No, I’m driving slower because I can. When I commuted from Warren it was a winding road packed with drivers either speeding or Sunday driving. And if I didn’t want to get stuck behind the off-day Sunday drivers, I had to go fast, and pass at every opportunity. Now, on a multi-lane highway, I can go my speed. And the weird thing is: my speed isn’t as fast as I thought it was.

My elders, and those who are just older than me, have been saying this for a while, so it’s hard to admit. But I ease the pain by knowing that my small change in behavior has led to a dramatic increase in fuel economy.

Previously, I’d be lucky to get 30MPG in my Scion xB, and that figured dropped to as little as 26 to 28MPG on the highway. But now I’m getting 33 to 35MPG with highway driving. Yes, I’m getting 10 to 20% better gas mileage, free.

The risk now is that I’ll become as self-righteous as some hybrid-driving do-gooders.

[tags]gas mileage, mileage, fuel economy, driving, commuting, habits[/tags]

4 thoughts on “Increased Fuel Economy, Easy

  1. Yep (sez one of those who are older than you). When we do take highway trips, we drive within 3MPH of the speed limit if there are multiple lanes–which isn’t slow (we’re mostly going 66-68MPH), but slower than most traffic on less-congested freeways. (On 280, we may as well be standing still compared to the flow of traffic.)

    And in either my 2001 Honda Civic EX or my wife’s 2005 Honda Civic EX, with air conditioner running, even on the hilly road to Reno, we consistently get 40 to 42MPG. Consistently.

  2. My Wife’s Civic also gets better gas mileage than my Scion, but I’ve not had a chance to see what it can really do now that I’ve changed my habits. 40 or better sounds great.

    Unfortunately, I find Civic really uncomfortable. I’m too tall for it and end up having to lean the seat well back, leaving my arms uncomfortably outstretched.

    The Yaris looks promising, though. It advertises 40MPG, is small, cheap, and simple, and appears to have more headroom than the civic. That, and it looks silly. Almost as silly as the xB, which is a good thing for me.

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