The $4/gallon gas solution

By spring 2008 the US will finally see $4/gallon gas prices. I’ve been waiting for this for 2 years now! I can’t wait to see what it does to people’s driving and purchasing behavior.

But for those who are financially hit by the price hike, some unsolicited advice.

Slow down, and save 20%.

People are amazed when I tell them I get 40mpg from my Mini Cooper on the highway (the same Mini that sucks up 26 mpg in the city). That is because I set the cruise control at the speed limit of usually 65, sometimes 70. Not only am I helping with fuel costs (and the environment), but I’m also never having to worry about the cop on the side of the road. And now I have the calculations of why it makes fiscal sense, too.

In a typical family sedan, every 10 miles per hour you drive over 60 is like the price of gasoline going up about 54 cents a gallon. That figure will be even higher for less fuel-efficient vehicles that go fewer miles on a gallon to start with. –

That is based on a $3.25 price per gallon not the expected $4.00 price per gallon.

Those who remember the 1973 oil crisis (I don’t) will remember the 55 mph national speed limit. After nearly 30 years, 55 mph is still the sweet spot of fuel efficiency for most cars.

So maybe it’s not about money for you, but rather time. “Time is money”, yadda, yadda. But if you are driving 30 miles, and go 75 mph instead of 60 mph, you are only saving 6 minutes on your total travel time. And consuming 20% more. Whoopity-do!

Increasing your highway cruising speed from 55mph to 75mph can raise fuel consumption as much as 20%. –

So get in the right hand lane, set cruise control, and enjoy the ride.

Oh, and don’t accelerate so fast.


2 thoughts on “The $4/gallon gas solution

  1. David,

    This really worked. For the past two months I’ve aimed to: (1) accelerate slowly, often using the cruise control at speeds of 30 MPH and up. (2) coast on all downhills and up to red lights — drive life I don’t have brakes basically. (3) never exceed 60 or 65 MPH on the highway. Doing just that the # of days I went between fill ups went from 7 days to 12. I ended up offsetting the price increase of gas and am pretty much paying what I was LAST summer.

    Thanks for the great tips!

  2. Awesome success story. You make me proud!

    Now, to get you to replace your in-city commute on a scooter. I can already see you flying down 75N on a Vespa.

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