Saturday, October 24, 2009


Here's a coupon, good for a 17% discount on all the gas you ever buy. It's good at every gas station on Earth. It's quite convenient. You don't have to show it to the gas station attendant. Since you keep it, you can reuse it forever. And you can use it even if you pay at the pump with a credit card. Did i mention that it's good for 17%? The coupon is free. Here it is:

But, i'm willing to bet that you won't use it. Here's how it works. Here in Michigan, the speed limit is 70 MPH (112 KPH). It's legal to drive at 62 MPH (100 KPH), but what people do is drive 75 or 80 (120 to 130 KPH), risking a speeding ticket. But i drive at 62 MPH. That's because there's a handy 100 KPH marking on my speedometer pointing straight up. And, my measurements show that the difference in fuel economy between driving at 70 MPH and 62 MPH is 17%. I ran these tests on four very different cars.

But you may find that you can't do it. There's a problem of the very worst kind. It's psychological. Despite the fact that in Michigan, trucks are never allowed to exceed 60 MPH, if you drive at 62, everyone passes you. I pass someone on the highway about once a month or less. So what i mean is, everyone passes you. And most people can't stand it. I drive my passengers crazy. You'll think that the other guy is "getting" something that you're not. They are. A higher gas bill.

My commute is 43 miles each way. It's almost all on the highway. If i could go 70 MPH, it would take 36.9 minutes to get to work. And at 62 MPH, it would take 41.6 minutes. So, 62 MPH is 4.7 minutes slower, right? Wrong. My record time is 56 minutes. I think of it as an hour, or an hour and a half if traffic is bad. But what i really mean is that traffic is always bad. But sometimes it's horrendous. So you might think that it takes five minutes longer, but the effect is not measurable. Except at the gas pump. I fill up less often, saving money and time.

I trained myself to drive at 62 MPH with my previous car. My Mazda has a cruise control. I'd set it for 62, and sit back and relax. I'd listen to some tunes, or a prerecorded radio show i'd downloaded from the web. It was really nice. I'm going slower, so i have the right of way. Everyone who wants to go faster must go around me. I don't have to disengage the cruise until i get where i'm going. Well, maybe sometimes. Like in Detroit where i have to take an exit just to stay on i75. Or in Troy, where despite four lanes, there's not enough room for all the cars. But now i'm trained, and that's that.

You can go to the Governator's web site and learn all about Eco Driving. You can buy expensive easy rolling tires and get maybe 2% fuel economy improvement. Or, you can go a bit slower - which costs you nothing - and get 17%. The coupon never expires. But there's no reason not to start today.


TeratoMarty said...

Your car advice is great. I have a younger friend who was online just now, telling me how she couldn't get her flat tire off the car. She thought she was doing it wrong. No, she was just using the dinky tire iron that came with the car. I used Google image search to find a cross-shaped tire iron, and located Not only did you have a good illustrative example, but I felt like she ought to know the rest of the advice you gave, as well.

Stephen said...

Thanks. My goal is to point out simple things, if possible. But also, entertain. Hence the ridiculously large number of implements for changing a tire...

遭高 said...
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