Monday, October 03, 2005

Driving Lessons

Did you know that your gas mileage is just about as dependent upon how you drive as what you drive? I'm amazed at all the people who are driving their 'economy' cars like they are in the middle of the Indy 500. Four cylinder engines will use just as much gas as a larger one if the driver constantly revs it, stomps the gas, brakes hard, and otherwise drives like a demon.

Despite all of its problems our government does have a lot of resources readily available. Click here for some information on what can affect your mileage. I like the EPA's description of 'vigorous driving' behavior. That's exactly what I'm talking about. Just because you are driving a small car doesn't mean you are doing anyone any favors in conserving fuel. You have to drive conservatively too. I took driver's ed in high school and was taught how to drive defensively and conservatively. One simple thing you can do to increase your mileage is coasting when you can. My Corvette has an instantaneous mileage gauge. If I'm on a slight downhill and coast my mileage goes up to about 90 mpg! If you live where there are rolling hills you can use them to your advantage. I like to make a game of it, How high can I get my mileage?

David drives hundreds of miles a week on his job and has made some observations. These are totally 'unscientific' of course, but they tell an interesting story. He has noticed that many drivers of small cars are very 'vigorous' drivers. (He has a much less pleasant description for them.) He has also noticed that most of the drivers of big vehicles like full-size SUVs (not as evil as everyone wants to think they are) drive much more conservatively and carefully. A Honda Accord going 75 mph isn't getting any better mileage than a Chevy Tahoe going 55 or 60 mph. So think twice before you condemn people for driving big vehicles. Look at your own driving habits before throwing stones. Yeah, sure, there are people driving big cars like demons too, but in David's observations he has noticed that fewer big vehicles (at least around here) drive 'vigorously.' And what we can't understand is that people continue to drive 'vigorously' when gas is over $3 a gallon. But hey, if they can afford it then that's their choice. Just don't complain about it if you're not doing everything in your power to conserve.

And another thing that I want to mention is school zones. At least once every day I have to yell at some stupid idiot for speeding through the school zone in front of my kids' school. It is very clearly marked with big flashing lights. But there is at least one person every day who thinks their time is too precious to slow down. Too bad they don't have cops sitting there waiting to give tickets. They could make a lot of money.


DHammett said...

You're living in the wrong area, Rae Ann. Or maybe I am. My wife and son have both been ticketed for "speeding" in a school zone. Within two weeks! We had just moved to the area, one known for aggressive traffic cops. I tried to warn them, but to no avail. I think they've learned their lesson now.

word verification: gsglzr

Assorted Babble by Suzie said...

My son agrues with me all the time about his F150 truck getting better gas mileage than I assume it does. Now I know how he drives so regardless if it is about the same or not, he still goes under that 'vigorous drivers' description. He overlooks as you know many projects and crews w/landscaping so he is burning and putting about 100+ miles a day on that vehicle.

Now my daughter her little HONDA Civic does great on fuel and mileage...and she is like me...we drive responsibly and conservative. My BMW requires Premium ONLY, so the battery will not be charged anytime soon.

We were taught early in life about conserving energy...since my Mom later in life worked at the Power Co..and we sure learned what to do if we wanted to or not. Things like that stick w/ you in life. I still do little things to conserve and have taught my children to all these yrs.

School zones...they should ticket them all day long. We have plenty cops for that around here.

Rae Ann said...

dh, yeah, we're out in the county where things are more lax. Speeding tickets can be expensive lessons!

suzie, being a child of the seventies we were taught in school about conservation because it was the middle of the 'energy crisis'. I'm always going through the house turning stuff off (lights, tvs, etc.) and yelling reminders that electricity doesn't flow from the wall for free.

Kat said...

Thank you for that post!

I have been telling my husband to stop gunning the engine for years, he won't listen. I myself drive a mid-sized SUV, and I am slow and steady. I wish i had one of those gas mileage things, that would be neat.