Can your behavior actually be costing you money?
When it comes to your gas mileage, the answer is yes.
I’ve been reading countless articles about improving your gas mileage by changing a few simple driving habits. Single digit points can be gained by keeping your tire pressure up, using cruise control, and driving the speed limit. The article also dispelled myths about rolled-down windows and AC usage contributing to lower gas mileage…apparently, this isn’t significant.
However, one thing can make a huge impact on your gas mileage – avoiding unnecessary acceleration. It’s so simple. You can still speed (thank god!), but by accelerating slowly from each stop you can improve your gas mileage by 35%. Really? Wow…I had to try this out.
I decided to test the theory by driving like my usual quick-start self for two tanks, and then accelerating like a grandma for the next two. Due to my corporate job and family life, my driving patterns change very little from week to week – not a good enough control for Scientific American, but consistent enough for my purposes.
The data certainly shows an improvement, albeit only a 17.5% increase. I’m sure the results would be difference if tested on a sedan rather than my gas-guzzling Honda Pilot. That may only be $200 annualized, but all these little savings can add up, so I’ll try to keep doing this.
Check out this quote from the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation:
Several studies say driving without a lead foot results in the most significant gas savings of all. A European study cited by Natural Resources Canada’s Office of Energy Efficiency found that rapid acceleration from stoplights and hard braking reduced travel time by just four per cent in city driving – the equivalent of just over a minute every half-hour – but resulted in a 37 per cent jump in fuel consumption and a five-fold increase in toxic emissions. Source
Give this a try and see for yourself. You can put some of that saved money aside for the agonizingly expensive Playstation 3. Happy, non-accelerating motoring.