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Old 06-29-08, 09:09 PM   #1
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You want to save a ton of gas? Slow down

Little experiment with our two cars over this weekend. Pure hwy driving.

2004 Acura TL: cruise control set on 75mph: 29mpg over a relatively flat 30 mile stretch of hwy.
cruise control set on 59mph: 34 mpg, same stretch.
2007 Acura RDX: cruise control set on 75mph: 21 mpg as above
cruise control set on 59mph: 24.5 mpg, same stretch.

Here in NY, @ about 60mph you sit in the right lane and the only vehicles that don't pass you are old pickups driving big horse trailers. But I'm often in no hurry. 34mpg from an Acura TL, a relatively heavy and powerful luxury mid-size car, doesn't suck. Ditto for 24 mpg from a small AWD SUV with a roof bicycle rack like the RDX. Those figures come down quickly once you get off the highway, but a ton of our driving is hwy up here, so we can really skew it upwards by leaving ten mins earlier and driving easy. I've been doing a lot of that. It's rather relaxing. When I'm late I can still hammer down the freeway @ 80-90, but I try to leave myself the time to avoid that.
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Old 06-29-08, 09:15 PM   #2
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You want to save a ton of gas, don't drive, by doing that, you most likely will save more than a ton.

Slowing down to save gas is like telling people they're saving money because it's "50% off". You're still spending money to buy it, you're not saving shiet.
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Old 06-29-08, 09:18 PM   #3
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From my small understanding on thermodynamics, most automobiles are most efficient at 35 mph and at 65 mph, windows closed and no air conditioning. On the highway, I usually concentrate on keeping the motor working at less than 2500 rpm constantly on the highway, which is about 65 mph on my Legend. On the downhills, it can get up to 85 or 90, but it usually slows down to about 50 - 55 mph on the uphills. Lots of people get upset behind me though

Another way you can conserve gas is by not idling the motor when not in use (for a minute or so). I'm unsure about how much gas you spend when starting the engine, but it's all too common to see people leave their motor running for 10 minutes or so when waiting for people to come by.

Another way is by controlling acceleration/deceleration better. Accelerating smoothly instead of jackrabbiting is a gas saver too, and smoother braking helps decrease brake wear.

There are other small things that can be done, like using economy mode for a/c (letting the fans do all of the cooling --- no compressor used) or using the emergency brake when parking, but that's excessive and the gains are minimal (except the economy mode).
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Old 06-29-08, 09:19 PM   #4
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You want to save a ton of gas, don't drive, by doing that, you most likely will save more than a ton.

Slowing down to save gas is like telling people they're saving money because it's "50% off". You're still spending money to buy it, you're not saving shiet.
I would agree with you, but pcad lives in Chester, i.e. public transportation not's too good of an option to get anywhere.

However, owning a car for usage in NYC is pointless (and is much more hassle than it's worth, at least in my case when I did own one)
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Old 06-29-08, 09:28 PM   #5
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I would agree with you, but pcad lives in Chester, i.e. public transportation not's too good of an option to get anywhere.
That's too bad, I'm not sympathetic. Possible suggestion: MOVE, or don't drive.
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Old 06-29-08, 09:44 PM   #6
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I have less than 1/8 mile to the highway where I take a left turn and accellerate to 65MPH to match traffic.

Not much option there to vary my speed within 6 miles, and I've tried. My mileage doesn't vary measurably.
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Old 06-29-08, 10:43 PM   #7
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55 mph, anyone?

Saves gas, saves lives.
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Old 06-29-08, 10:54 PM   #8
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55 mph, anyone?

Saves gas, saves lives.
Didn't we go through this once before? As I recall...it didn't work out...sort of like prohibition.
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Old 06-29-08, 10:58 PM   #9
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The only thing I saw the 55 mph limit did was fatten the pockets of local towns with speed traps.
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Old 06-29-08, 11:23 PM   #10
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You want to save a ton of gas, don't drive, by doing that, you most likely will save more than a ton.

Slowing down to save gas is like telling people they're saving money because it's "50% off". You're still spending money to buy it, you're not saving shiet.
Assuming someone has already made a decision to drive, that's a silly argument.
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Old 06-30-08, 03:38 AM   #11
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That's too bad, I'm not sympathetic. Possible suggestion: MOVE, or don't drive.
We're not moving anywhere. Don't worry we can afford the gas. We are about to go to a geothermal heating system however. That will reduce our usage of home heating oil from 1500 gallons annually to zero point zero zero. What are you doing to reduce your carbon footprint? You might consider emitting less hot air with your silly BF utterings.

If it makes your Eco Nazi heart feel any warmer, I do have a motorcycle that gets more like 40mpg that I use about 8 months a year whenever possible. In the meantime try not to be a complete idiot, I'm sure that's far more damaging to the world than our driving.
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Old 06-30-08, 03:45 AM   #12
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the suburbs are dead once gas tops $5 a gallon
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Old 06-30-08, 03:53 AM   #13
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the suburbs are dead once gas tops $5 a gallon
They're not dead all over Europe and gas is $8+ a gallon.

Get serious. There will be 60-100 mpg plug-in hybrids in half the driveways in America within ten years, maybe less. At $10/gallon I could still afford the gas even with conventional cars. So could my neighbors.

I do find it fascinating that gas has been nose bleed expensive in Europe for 10+ years and cars haven't changed much. Gas hits $3/gallon here, and the move to innovative high mpg hybrids takes on a new screaming global urgency that will bring them to market within 5 years. At some point the world will need to start developing its own innovative venture capital Silicon Valley culture, America can't help the friggin world invent its way out of everything. We've been doing it for 100+ years, mostly by ourselves.
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Old 06-30-08, 04:56 AM   #14
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Another way is by controlling acceleration/deceleration better. Accelerating smoothly instead of jackrabbiting is a gas saver too, and smoother braking helps decrease brake wear.
You should consider touring Tennessee on a "Gas saving" seminar. This rather obvious observation appears to be a complete mystery to most people in this state, and I'd imagine you could make some money on such a tour!
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Old 06-30-08, 05:09 AM   #15
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Little experiment with our two cars over this weekend. Pure hwy driving.

2004 Acura TL: cruise control set on 75mph: 29mpg over a relatively flat 30 mile stretch of hwy.
cruise control set on 59mph: 34 mpg, same stretch.
2007 Acura RDX: cruise control set on 75mph: 21 mpg as above
cruise control set on 59mph: 24.5 mpg, same stretch.

Here in NY, @ about 60mph you sit in the right lane and the only vehicles that don't pass you are old pickups driving big horse trailers. But I'm often in no hurry. 34mpg from an Acura TL, a relatively heavy and powerful luxury mid-size car, doesn't suck. Ditto for 24 mpg from a small AWD SUV with a roof bicycle rack like the RDX. Those figures come down quickly once you get off the highway, but a ton of our driving is hwy up here, so we can really skew it upwards by leaving ten mins earlier and driving easy. I've been doing a lot of that. It's rather relaxing. When I'm late I can still hammer down the freeway @ 80-90, but I try to leave myself the time to avoid that.

This is a VERY noticable condition with my Diesel truck... its a huge difference between 65 and 75mph... most of the speed limits are 65 here in upstate... and you almost get creamed for doing it... I am seeing 23-29highway mpg when I keep it down around 65 area... but much much much less if I try and stay with traffic...
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Old 06-30-08, 05:37 AM   #16
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I'm certainly no proponent of lowering the speed limits to save energy. Nobody will adhere to a 55mph limit on roads that are really designed for 80-100mph cruising. 65mph seems like a reasonable compromise, and even that limit is often ignored. If I want to save gas I don't mind driving 60mph in the right lane while the other traffic passes me. You do get used to it. But the fuel savings is not insignificant. And if I have to drive (and we do) I'd like to use less fuel. There will be a gas-sipping hybrid or econo car in our driveway within 2 years, but right now we're not doing too badly with two vehicles that get 20-30mpg+ on the hwy + a 40mpg motorcycle. We drive the SUV (an Acura RDX crossover SUV) half as much as the TL sedan.

Remember that many people chose their current lifestyles when gas was $1.00/gallon. We did. When we moved here it cost $1300 each winter to heat the house. Now annual fuel costs for that are $7K+. But that's the silver lining to $140bbl oil. I wouldn't invest the $50K we're about to in a geothermal HVAC system to get ecologically green. I'm doing it because it makes sense financially. And what else will spur the Big Three to pull the plug on pickup trucks and make hybrids and more efficient cars? $4/gallon gas, that's what. Nothing else ever worked, did it? It's economics that will really get companies and individuals to put their money where their mouth is. That investment in that new heating system for my home is a lotta dough fellas. I'm sure my pal Al Gore will be pleased.

These idiots who think we should all Save the Friggin Planet are dreaming. That's people acting for the collective. That's a communist theory that failed miserably on the global scene. People do what works for THEM. And now that cheap energy is a thing of the past... don't worry, everybody's about to get much, much greener. Whether they like it or not of course.

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Old 06-30-08, 06:48 AM   #17
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What kind of geothermal HVAC system are you getting? horizontal/vertical closed loop, open loop or a slinky setup you drop in the lake?

I have two Climatemaster Tranquility 27 units 3tons each with a vertical closed loop setup to heat 5500 sqft. So far it has run over 3 years without any problems.
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Old 06-30-08, 07:32 AM   #18
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Vertical closed loop Scummer. Still gathering the info. Hope to have it operational for the next heating season. As you can imagine all these contractors are overwhelmed. There aren't too many geothermal guys out there. How much did your electric bill ramp up after you put in those heat pumps?
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Old 06-30-08, 07:44 AM   #19
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65mph in the right lane of a 65mph speed limit highway would be much easier if so many people were not doing 50-55.
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Old 06-30-08, 07:55 AM   #20
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Didn't we go through this once before? As I recall...it didn't work out...sort of like prohibition.
There was a prohibition effect, and that's what made movies like Smoky and the Bandit popular. People drove closer to 65 than 55. However, when the speed limit went up, they started speeding even more.

Gas is finally getting expensive enough to encourage people to think about mileage. I think for people to really change much, it still has to go higher. Now everyone whines, but they haven't really changed their behavior. Lots of people pretend the fiddling with a few cents gas tax makes a difference in how they live when they clearly didn't even flinch when the price doubled overnight.

A Portland TV station contacted the BTA which in turn contacted local bike clubs. The TV station wanted to do a piece on a professional who started riding to work because of high gas prices. They wanted someone who needed to shower and wear a tie. I'm guessing that they'll have a hard time finding such a person because well over 99% of the people with that kind of job won't change their behavior over recent gas price hikes.

The reality is that depreciation is typically a far greater expense than gas, but people don't sweat that. Nor do they consider heft insurance charges which also costs more than gas for many drivers.

If the price gets to $7 or $8, you will start seeing real options
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Old 06-30-08, 08:08 AM   #21
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65mph in the right lane of a 65mph speed limit highway would be much easier if so many people were not doing 50-55.
Down here the right lane is doing 75.
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Old 06-30-08, 08:19 AM   #22
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Little experiment with our two cars over this weekend. Pure hwy driving.
Good test, good suggestion. I also drive slow when possible. Another thing many of us learn from riding a bike so much is that a lot of energy is also used when accelerating. I accelerate slowly if the traffic allows, which it often does in the suburbs. This has allowed me to get 30 mpg around town out of an old Corolla with automatic.

Slowing down is somethig we all can do without any investment at all. The savings are worth it.

Just not running the air conditioner is worth it too. I did about a 60 mile drive with the air conditioning on a few days ago. The exta gas used was easy to notice. I wish I kept records. I didn't.

Most energy saving ideas start with buying some kind of technology, then you need to recover the initial investment. That can take years. It costs nothing to slow down today.

I believe that Plug in hybrids, similar to the Plug in kits installed on some Prius hybrids will be common soon. I would love to get one too.

I had to laugh when my friend told me he got better mileage with his new Honda Insight than I did with my BMW motorcycle.
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Old 06-30-08, 08:24 AM   #23
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Vertical closed loop Scummer. Still gathering the info. Hope to have it operational for the next heating season. As you can imagine all these contractors are overwhelmed. There aren't too many geothermal guys out there. How much did your electric bill ramp up after you put in those heat pumps?
During the coldest winter days (-10F - 0F) my bill was around 170$/month for heating. During the hot& humid time (hotter than 80F with 100% humidity or 85F with 60% humidity) it adds maybe 50$ for cooling.

I called Climatemaster to find a contractor. He was located about 50 miles away and the drilling rig came from Ohio (300 miles distance), while the pipe installers came from Indianapolis (160 miles away)

The problem with heat pumps are the upfront costs and a lot of people like cheap and they don't understand what it means to plan for the future, that's why you won't find a lot of contractors which can do the job.

I did all the electrical installation for the heat pump myself as I'm an Electrician by trade.

Oh, important, make sure your house (if approx 5000sqft in size) can take another 100A load as the resistance heating coils for really cold weather (below 0F) require a big amount of wattage and you don't want to find out during the coldest winter that your feed can't supply the amount of amps you need.

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Old 06-30-08, 08:31 AM   #24
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Fuel efficiency has nothing to do with speed.

It all has to do with the most efficient engine output. If you drive with your tachometer
at 2000 rather than 3000, you will save gas. My sister has a 6-speed Corvette that can
barely idle at 900rpm while going about 60 in 6th gear.
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Old 06-30-08, 08:36 AM   #25
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Fuel efficiency has nothing to do with speed.

It all has to do with the most efficient engine output. If you drive with your tachometer
at 2000 rather than 3000, you will save gas. My sister has a 6-speed Corvette that can
barely idle at 900rpm while going about 60 in 6th gear.
Didn't pay attention in physics class, eh? Wind resistance is a MAJOR factor when it comes to fuel efficiency. You slow down, your mpg goes up. It's a fact, like a*0=0
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