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I wanted to post my personal experiment here for everyone's benefit especially with the recent prices. Now, this takes the fun out of driving but if $$ is a concern, this is interesting.
My normal driving (90% commuting miles - 20 mins of backroads, 10 mins of city driving, and 20 mins of highway) usually got me 330 miles to a tank. I drive somewhat aggressively and am not afraid to use the gas pedal. My highway speeds are typically 75-80.
I decided to drive differently after the prices shot up to see what difference I could make. I made sure I kept the RPMs under 1500 at all times - gentle acceleration and 65mph. It was hard and it certainly wasn't fun to drive but I refilled my tank at 400 miles and the gas light hadn't even come on yet. That 70 miles means one more roundtrip on my commute (6 days instead of 5 between fillups).
At $57 per fillup ($3.20/gal) and 3.33 fills per 4 weeks ("month"), that's $190 a "month". That would otherwise be $57 per fillup and 4 fills per 4 weeks - meaning $228. So I save about $30 a month. Personally not worth it but good to know.
 

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cinergi said:
I wanted to post my personal experiment here for everyone's benefit especially with the recent prices. Now, this takes the fun out of driving but if $$ is a concern, this is interesting.
My normal driving (90% commuting miles - 20 mins of backroads, 10 mins of city driving, and 20 mins of highway) usually got me 330 miles to a tank. I drive somewhat aggressively and am not afraid to use the gas pedal. My highway speeds are typically 75-80.
I decided to drive differently after the prices shot up to see what difference I could make. I made sure I kept the RPMs under 1500 at all times - gentle acceleration and 65mph. It was hard and it certainly wasn't fun to drive but I refilled my tank at 400 miles and the gas light hadn't even come on yet. That 70 miles means one more roundtrip on my commute (6 days instead of 5 between fillups).
At $57 per fillup ($3.20/gal) and 3.33 fills per 4 weeks ("month"), that's $190 a "month". That would otherwise be $57 per fillup and 4 fills per 4 weeks - meaning $228. So I save about $30 a month. Personally not worth it but good to know.

I attempted the same type of experiment.

It lasted about 5 minutes.

IMHO, Life's too short to drive that way.
 

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...but who's watching the road if you're watching the tach?
Were a lot of people doing that strange one finger wave because of your 1500 RPM acceleration efforts? 0 :)
 

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I did the same test with my Del Sol. Was going to be selling it, so I wanted to see just how high I could get the MPG with normal commute driving.

I was able to go from about 28mpg up to about 34mpg.

Now that's a significant jump!

HOWEVER, it was killing me. I mean, I love to drive, and slowly putting off the line and not pushing hard to whip around the idiot drivers here was just too much.

So, that extra gas I'm using is, in my opinion, not just an entertainment expense, but it's also medical costs to keep me from going insane! ;)
 

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One of the joys of driving is to be able to see the rest of the cars in your rear view mirror! I tried that experiment too. I lasted 2 days...then I noticed too many cars in front of me blocking my view...:2:
 

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Corin said:
So, that extra gas I'm using is, in my opinion, not just an entertainment expense, but it's also medical costs to keep me from going insane! ;)
Ditto that!

I too tried this experiment. I tried it during a round trip to my parents, about 500km (300 miles). I went from using a tank of gas, to using half a tank. While that's a huge jump, most of my driving is in city, and I just can't get any better mileage in the city.
 

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I come in to work super early in the a.m. After I got my last speeding ticket for doing 85mph in a 55mph zone, I decided not to speed coming in to work. With the cruise control set to about 60mph, I am averaging anywhere between 21.9 and 22.5.
Going home is a different story and I always seem to find an excuse to zoom-zoom-zoom. When I get home my miles per gallon has dropped down to about 20.9 to 21.4, still no too bad, though. MO has 24,500 on it and runs great.
 

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Yeah I always try to keep gas mileage in the back of my mind while driving, but stepping on the gas is too much fun. In fact, my MO gets better mileage in rush hour gridlock than in normal driving, since I don't drive that fast when its congested.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
FWIW I normally get 20.9/21.1 MPG but this experiment had me at between 23.5 and 24. But like you're all saying, it's just not worth it nor a fun driving experience :)

Edit: that 23.5-24.0 was the computer speaking. Calculating it by hand, it was 22.6.
 

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22-24 mpg keeping to posted limits + 10. Not racing starts, but no put puts either. 40K miles in 15 months, original tires, always super, and synthetic.
 

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I've THOUGHT about attempting that in my Mach 1...


Then I returned to reason.

I
my V8.
 

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When my MO was new, I tried several driving methods to see if I could get the 24 MPG posted on the sticker.
Only way of getting close: driving like Grandma, and not running AC. Not running AC still and option on nice days.............:1:
 

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Gas saving tips tested -- with amazing results.

By Edmunds.com Editors

Gas-saving tips have an urban legend appeal.

Someone at a party might say, "Hey, did you know that if you drive with your windows up and the air conditioning on, it actually saves gas? It's more aerodynamic."

"Huh," you say, "I didn't know that. That's interesting."

Interesting, yes. True? Well, maybe not.

We took the top four fuel economy tips and put them to a real-world test. Our goal was simple: to see what tips produced a measurable difference in fuel economy. We say "measurable" (meaning detectable by an ordinary driver, not a lab technician) because most people want to see an improvement in their fuel economy that saves dollars, not just pennies.

Fuel economy tips seem to get passed on from person to person until they lose their source and their validity. This was our chance to reverse the trend.

The Tests
We chose four fuel economy tips and took two cars from the Edmunds.com long-term fleet, and drove eight 56-mile loops. Our route circled Owens Lake near Lone Pine, California, at the foot of Mount Whitney, the tallest mountain in the lower 48 states. We chose the route because it was so deserted we could vary our speed and driving style without interfering with the flow of traffic. The only other cars we saw on the route were a group of testers from Mercedes-Benz, trying out a heavily cladded prototype.

The Vehicles
We drove the Edmunds.com long-term 2005 Ford Mustang GT and the 2005 Land Rover LR3 SE. The Mustang, with a manual transmission, is a sleek coupe; the Land Rover, with an automatic, is a boxy SUV. Both vehicles have V8 engines. The Land Rover is rated at 14 mpg city and 18 mpg on the highway according to the EPA estimates posted on Edmunds.com. The Mustang's EPA estimated mileage is 15 mpg city and 25 on the highway.

In earlier studies, we have found that the EPA estimates do not reflect the mileage that most drivers will actually record. In "Real World vs. EPA Estimates", we found that most drivers will actually get less than the city mileage.

Testing Method
The Land Rover has an onboard computer to calculate several driving factors including gas mileage, distance traveled and average speed. We felt the results in the Land Rover were extremely accurate. After each loop we refueled the Mustang at the same filling station and at the fuel pump to see how gas mileage varied.

Since the tests were to compare the difference between variables, we knew that we had to standardize them as much as possible. Consequently, we always drove the loops back-to-back to minimize differences in the temperature and wind direction. The two cars were driven in tandem separated by about a tenth of a mile. Results were measured and computed immediately after the loops were driven.

Test #1: Effect of Using Cruise Control

Result: Big-time savings!
Here's a bit of advice that surfaces frequently on tips lists. Usually, the recommendation is to use cruise control "selectively." This means not to use it in the mountains since it will try to keep the car up to speed no matter what grade you are climbing. We have always agreed with this tip in theory but we hadn't expected such significant results. As soon as we began driving the loop we realized it would be important. First, it smoothes out the driver's accelerator input by keeping nervous drivers from "surging." Second, it forces the driver to take the long view of the road instead of reacting to every change in the traffic.

Method: We drove the two test cars 56.8 miles once with the cruise control on and once by controlling the car manually. With the cruise control on we set it at 70 mph. With the cruise control off we varied our speed between 65 mph and 75 mph. We tried to mimic the driving style of a person who is in moderate freeway traffic.

Land Rover
With cruise control 19.6 mpg
Without cruise control 17.2 mpg

Percent change 13.9 percent improvement

Mustang
With cruise control 23.3 mpg
Without cruise control 22.3 mpg

Percent change 4.5 percent improvement


Test #2: Effect of A/C On, Windows Up vs. A/C Off, Windows Down

Result: Mixed
This has got to take you back to the days with the family on vacation. Dad says, "Turn the A/C off! It wastes gas!" And Mom says, "We can't roll the windows down or everyone on the highway will think we can't afford A/C." And you're in the back roasting, hoping someone will win the argument so you can cool off.

Well, family psychology aside, Dad wasn't necessarily right. While the A/C compressor does pull power from the engine wasting some gas, the effect appears to be fairly minimal in modern cars. And putting the windows down tends to increase drag on most cars, canceling out any measurable gain from turning the A/C off. But this one depends on the model you're driving. Still, in our experience, it's not worth the argument because you won't save a lot of gas either way. So just do what's comfortable.

Method: We drove the same loops at equal speeds both times, 65 mph. The first loop we drove with the A/C on and the windows up. The second loop we drove with the A/C off and windows down.

Land Rover
With A/C on, windows up 19.3 mpg
With A/C off, windows down 19.6 mpg

Percent change 1.6 percent improvement

Mustang
With A/C on, windows up 29.5 mpg
With A/C off, windows down 30.7 mpg

Percent change 4.1 percent improvement


Test #3: Lead-Foot Driving vs. Feather-Foot Driving

Result: Major savings potential.
This is gonna hurt. From all our testing, the most successful method for saving gas is: you. And we're talking massive fuel economy gains. Think you need a hybrid? Well, chances are you've got hybrid-style mileage improvements already in your gas pedal foot. Don't mash the gas pedal when you stop and start. Take the long view of the road and brake easy. This tip alone can save you unbelievable amounts of gas. We found that if you slowed your 0-to-60 time down to 20 seconds from a normal city driving pace of 10 to 15 seconds, you'll feel the savings immediately.

Method: We drove the same loops as before, once by accelerating aggressively 15 times at three-fourths throttle from zero to a cruising speed of 75 mph. We also applied the brakes hard as if coming to a stoplight. In the second loop we accelerated moderately 15 times at one-fourth throttle to a cruising speed of 70 mph. We braked lightly to a full stop.

Land Rover
With lead foot 14.1 mpg
With feather foot 19.1 mpg

Percent change 35.4 percent improvement

Mustang
With lead foot 18.1 mpg
With feather foot 23 mpg

Percent change 27.1 percent improvement


Test #4: Low Tire Pressure vs. Properly Inflated Tires

Result: Important for many reasons
No matter how many times drivers hear that tire pressure is important they hate checking it. Probably because they don't like squatting beside their car in a busy gas station with fumes swirling around them. But it is important, for a number of reasons. Properly inflated tires are less likely to fail at high speeds. They wear more evenly and, yes, they deliver better gas mileage. How much? In this test we saw a modest but noticeable difference. It might have been more dramatic if the test was conducted at a lower temperature; it was 108 degrees Fahrenheit the day we did our tests.

Method: We drove two loops at about 60 mph. Once, the tires were 5 psi below the pressure recommended by the manufacturer. The second time, the tires were about 2 psi above the recommended around. We overinflated the tires because it's difficult to get a reliable inflation level when the tires are already warmed up. We felt that it was important to make sure the tires were inflated to the recommended level or slightly above. Furthermore, tires are constructed to allow for a certain amount of overinflation, though they will then deliver a harsher ride.

Land Rover
Underinflated tires 20.5 mpg
Properly inflated tires 21.4 mpg

Percent change 4.4 percent improvement

Mustang
Underinflated tires 23.7 mpg
Properly inflated tires 23.7 mpg

Percent change 0 percent improvement *


* We felt that because of the high temperatures the tires were never sufficiently underinflated enough to show a difference. Even though we deflated them by 5 psi when cold, the high temperature brought them back up to the required inflation level.

Conclusions
The good news is that you can drastically improve your gas mileage. The caveat is that you have to change your driving habits. Basically, stop driving like a maniac and use that cruise control. Who knows? You might like the new you.

On other fronts, be sure to check your tire inflation both to save gas but also to be safe and promote even tire wear. And regarding that air conditioner, well, if you want to drive around with your arm hanging out of the window it won't really change your gas mileage much.

Now, when someone sidles up to you at a party and says, "You know, washing your car will improve the gas mileage,'" you can lock eyes with them and say, "I heard that, too. Turns out the difference is so small it's insignificant."
 

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Interesting post..........I agree with all the results based on my own experience. Lead foot - it always kills fuel economy.
CC - i use it as often as I can, saves time and stress of watching for caps with radars.

If we all cut down on driving just a little bit and let off the gas pedal I believe the society can make a difference. 15% reduction in gas usage would definitelly be visable at pumps - lower prices!
 

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That A/C test is much like the one shown on Mythbusters. You don't need to perform a test to figure it out, you just need some math.

Wind resistance goes up exponentially with speed. So if the windows are down, the power needed to overcome the resistance will rise with speed. A/C on the other hand, uses a fixed amount of power regardless of speed. Plot the two lines on a power required vs speed graph. At speeds above the intersection, A/C is more efficient, at speeds below the intersection windows down is more efficient.
 

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I'm always looking ahead and I'm typically light on the pedal. I'm always trying to avoid having to use brakes and just slow the car with the gas pedal. I try not to come to a full stop and I accelerate slowly. However when I'm moving... I'm moving. General the MO and I like 80 MPH..... we are both in heaven. :D
 

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For what it's worth, keeping my MO below 1500rpm is almost IMPOSSIBLE at this altitude. It takes a little more foot to get moving with the thinner air here. If I accelerated at 1500rpm grammas with walkers would be passing me.

*EDIT* Oh yeah... and I average about 17-18MPG per tank... which shot up about 3-4 MPG recently when I turned 7,000 miles. If any of you remember my posts from last year, I was pretty pissed that I was averaging 11MPG. :)
 

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I CONSTANTLY use CC. Once up to speed I set it and forget it. I also would consider myself a mid-foot... definitely use more power than 1500rpm, usually under 2000rpm.

I love getting on the hwy, putting the shifter into S mode and watch the rpm's come way up and get in front of the A-holes who were not going to let you merge. Their faces when they see me leap ahead of them = PRICELESS!

What I would be most interested in is finding out what the grades of gasoline do to mileage. I am in the good/bad scenario where work pays for gas, except corporate policy is regular unleaded only.

When I put premium gas in, I definitely got better gas mileage.

The study to be done is: spending the extra $$ on premium do you get it back in added mileage?

Anyone have info on this?
 

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Yes someone had. Do a search and you will find their results. As I recall slight improvement with high grade just enought to about cover the additional cost.
 
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