I’m a slow driver. I try to stay around 60 on the highway and around 40 on sub-highway roads. I also accelerate slowly. One might call it a crawl. I’m taking data to see how many miles per gallon I can get. This last fill up I hit 34 mpg in the Nissan Ultima and it felt great!
The down side of this is that the world hates me.
And when I say “hate” I mean “hate“. I don’t think a day passes when I don’t get scowls, horns, gestures, or harsh words. As I see it, there are three types of honks. 1) the ‘Lookout! my car is here!’ 2) the ‘just thought I’d let you know the light has turned green… in case you got distracted’ and 3) the ‘I hate you because you’re in my way’
1 and 2 are usually pretty well recieved. It’s 3 that’s a kicker. Why the hatred folks? I mean you no harm. What I’ve noticed is that the number 3 honks never really happen on the highway. As long as slow folks like me stick to the slow lane, fast folks like you can zip around and dart all you like. No one’s bothered.
BUT… on one or two lane roads with lots of lights, the fury is exposed. Remarkably, the extra speed of those drivers around me rarely helps. Usually they just zip ahead so they can reach the red light first, then I coast up to them and have to deal with more of their rage.
So, if you happen to be one of those folks that honks at slow drivers, realize that we don’t intentionally mean to cause you grief. Try and understand that we prefer to live life without the rush and hustle and are hoping to save a few dollars here and there.
I have received quite a bit of angst from individuals as they question my ‘scientific studies’ of gas consumption. This is especially true for air conditioner usage and speed tests for miles per gallon. The contradicting arguement is that it’s impossible to determine how some of the things I do influence gas milage because there are so many variables. Some of these variables include: stop lights, hills, temperature/seasons, weight of car (i.e. is Kurt in the car with me), car quality, maintenance, traffic, different routes, wind, etc.
During my original tests with the acclaim to fame, I was looking at a specific trip. The drive from Meriden to Stoneham. I would make this trip every weekend and would fill up upon leaving Meriden and again upon arriving in stoneham. By resetting the odometer and writing down the amout of gas I use to fill up at my destination, I could compute mpg. Because it was the same roads and there’s never traffic, I felt I could pretty accurately deduce how many mpg I could save by going at different speeds Especially as I could average the numbers from multiple trips. I would control the speed via Cruise upon first hitting the highway, and only reduce it for the tolls and my final exit. In the acclaim I would get an addition 3-4 miles per gallon at 55 than I would at 70. I have NOT yet done these tests with the Nissan.
These days, I’m playing around with acceleration. I can control my acceleration by keeping a close eye on the tachometer. Right now I’m trying to keep it under 2500rpm as I switch into 2nd gear (a feat on the nissan because heavy acceleration will result in it hitting >3600 pre 2nd gear). While I can’t control stop lights and traffic as carefully as I did in my first study, by recording my data over a month I should be able to get a decent average. I’ll then alternate and for one month accelerate quickly, trying to hit 3500 before 2nd gear and see how that influences mpg and finally repeat that process so I have four months of data. Once I take the average of that I feel I’ll have a pretty good understanding of how I can optimize my driving to save gasoline.