Since I've been in the process of buying a home, I've become increasingly parismonious in several areas of existence. Most of notable of those has been in the arena of driving. After looking up and coming up with ways to trim fuel usage while covering the same geographical distance, I decided to fully institute what I'd come up with to see how much I could do to stretch each drop of gasoline.
The results were quite satisfying. I've a '97 Ford Taurus with over 100,000 miles on it. On my last tank I went 372 miles on 11.73 gallons. That's 31.7 mpg. The EPA puts the car's average fuel economy at 23 mpg (I do slightly more highway, somewhere close to 60%). To bump up my efficiency 38%, I:
- Inflated all tires to 42 psi.
- Never topped 55 mph.
- Kept engine rpms under 2,000 at all times.
- Never used the AC.
- Cracked the driver's side window an inch, leaving all others up.
- Eased the accelerator slightly during accelerations to cause a premature gear shift (it's an automatic).
- Studied traffic signals assiduously as I approached from a distance, attempting to minimize the use of braking by speeding up or coasting depending on the point in the intersection's cycle.
Maybe undertaking all of that is absurd to get an extra 100 miles out of a tank, thereby saving me a whopping $12 per tank. So you're financially healthier than I am--rub it in why don't you! Particularly unacceptable to the average driver is the abstention from the AC or windows, especially in the thick of a Kansas summer (and the ride is a bit longer due to slower highway speeds, although that can be compensated for by timing traffic signals if you're zealous enough to do so).
Still, 40% of oil consumption in the US goes to passenger vehicles. Conceivably, if all drivers got a third more from each tank without driving any fewer miles, we'd be able to shave a couple million barrels of daily oil consumption--more than we import from either Mexico or Saudi Arabia.