Friday, June 13, 2008

Personal Best

I went to get a hair cut today and nothing like a room full of women talking about child rearing to make your mind turn to other things .....

... Like your vehicle. I am, admittedly, not a car girl. They hold no allure for me, but they do need to be practical. I bought my Honda Element 3 1/2 years ago when I had a much larger and hairier dog and I had resigned myself to taking over the corporate end of my business. It is the perfectly designed art delivery car- square. Not to mention how easy it is to clean dog fur out of. And it was only a mild concession when it came to mpg- especially compared to other SUV/minivan type vehicles. It was rated at 21-24 mpg.

Since I bought it, it has consistently gotten 21-27 mpg depending on the weather. This was terrible compared to my previous car- a Toyota Corolla- which got 32-38. With all the tips out there on how to save gas by adjusting your driving style I thought I would give it a try. I slowed to 60 mph on the highway, tried to coast to stops and avoided quick starts. On my recent trip to the Encaustic Conference in Beverly, Massachusetts I was able to get 30 mpg. Yippee!

That was mostly highway miles though. The real challenge would be to up my mileage during my regular commute. I have been consciously driving in a very deliberate manner. Slow starts, coasting, using cruise control when I could, etc. Today I checked my mileage and I got 28.23 mpg. Wow! I wonder what else I could do to make it better?

I was chatting with my friend, Louise about my experiment and independently she had started the same experiment. She also has a long commute. She has been able to up her mileage since changing her driving style. We also reached another independent conclusion about slow driving: it relieves a lot of the stress of commuting. Perhaps it is because you are no longer trying to move faster or pass people. It has the same effect as listening to a book on tape while driving- just a completely different focus.

It also makes me feel a little better about driving such an outlandishly large car.


Michelle said...

It m ay be on the bigger sode, but believe me, you don't have an outlanishly large car! YOu will have to show me how yu check your milage, i am thinking I need to do that for Le Boat.

LYC said...

I can already tell there's a difference in mileage by where my gas guage is now. The exact figures will come when I fill up again next week. Will it be Wednesdat? Thursday?