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I Tried Driving Sensibly. I Saved Gas and Money.

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A few weeks ago, I dedicated myself to being more mindful of my driving habits in an effort to save money and gasoline. I was fairly confident I would be able to increase my fuel efficiency by inflating my tires, driving the speed limit, and monitoring my driving habits. I’ll dive into more detail about each of these later, but first..

The Numbers

Last Tuesday, I filled my tank to capacity and drove 205 miles during the week.
I filled up again on Tuesday at $3.59/gallon and used 6.73 gallons costing me $24.22.
This leaves my average fuel consumption for the week at average of 30.5 mpg.

If you look at the numbers from last time, you’ll see I averaged about 26.8 miles per gallon. I saw about a 14% increase in fuel efficiency. Here are a few more numbers to put this into perspective.

Let’s assume I drive 12,600 miles per year and the average cost of gasoline is $3.62:

  • At 26.8 miles per gallon, I would need 470 gallons of gasoline per year.
  • It would cost me about $1701.40 per year in gasoline costs alone.
  • At 30.5 miles per gallon, I would need 413 gallons of gasoline per year.
  • It would cost me about $1495.06, that’s $206.34 less per year than what I was spending before.

Calculating these numbers really makes me want to kick myself in the ass for not doing this sooner.

The Techniques

  • Driving the Speed Limit – By far, this was one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do. I usually don’t speed too much, but it was just the fact that I could be going a little bit faster and I could potentially get to my destination a few seconds earlier that was driving me crazy. As the week progressed, my anger subsided; however, it was a bit unnerving having to deal with the drivers who wanted to run me off of the road for driving the posted speed limit.
  • Monitoring Driving Habits – I really wanted to be in more control of my car. I watched how often and how forceful I used both the brake and the accelerator. I anticipated traffic light changes and traffic flow better and was overall more mindful of my surroundings. I also refused to use my cell phone while driving. Talking or texting while in the car takes your focus from your driving and places it on your conversation. It’s a terrible habit that I am trying to break. This exercise was a great start.
  • Inflating Tires – My tires were below proper inflation when I started. I can’t recall the exact numbers, but they did need some air. I’m unsure whether or not this had any significant change, but driving with properly inflated tires is just a smart thing to do overall.

Hopefully this post will have you evaluating your own driving habits. Measure your gasoline consumption for one week driving regularly, then measure again with more mindful driving. The actual savings should be more than convincing enough to have you always be conscious of your driving habits.

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One Comment

  1. Welcome to the company of the boring but economically efficient drivers. I learned these gas-saving techniques from a taxi driver and from racing friends. I can average 13 kpl, which would translate to roughly 30 mpg. My taxi driver friend can average 15kpl, which would be closer to 40 mpg. ^_^

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